Leaders in Acholi in Northern Uganda has blamed the current high rate of destruction of forest resources on high tariffs of “electricity and gas” for cooking and called on government to lower the tariffs so as to save the environment.
This observation was made by Pro. jack Nyeko Men Mogi, the Chairman of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) also vice chancellor of Gulu University on Thursday, January 7, 2016.
“The cost of electricity and gas are very high and even people who are considered middle class who lives in Kampala cannot afford to use the facilities for cooking. Even the well to do resort to the use of charcoal for cooking because they cannot afford electricity or gas”. Pen Mogi said in an interview.
The Institution of Ker Kwaro Acholi said in a statement dated January 13, 2016 that the region is experiencing unprecedented destruction of its environment especially its forest cover through uncontrolled and unsustainable exploitation of its forest resources by commercial charcoal burners. Large tracks of land have been laid bare as trees are indiscriminately cut for charcoal.
“There seems collusion between unscrupulous charcoal dealers and some local leaders and the community in carrying out this destructive activity”. The Prime Minister of Ker Kwaro Acholi, Mr. Ambrose Olaa said in the Statement. The institution commended Gulu District Local government for suspending all unrealistic and uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources and appealed to other districts to follow the example of Gulu.
Gulu district Chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi accused some foreigners who come to the district to destroy the environment by indiscriminately cutting down trees for charcoal burning.
” I have a message for you (foreigners). You want to come here to our district and destroy our environment! The constitution allows you to stay anywhere, but it does not permit you to destroy the environment”. Mapenduzi said.
The district Environment Officer for Gulu, Ms. Francesca Atto told the people of Paicho, the worst affected sub-county in Gulu, that locals must be ready to plant trees in all the land where trees were depleted because the locals had sold away the trees to foreigners for burning charcoal.
“If we find that you have destroyed ten acres of your land, then you must be prepared to plant ten acres of new seedlings to replant the depleted area”. She said.