Kampala — 24 August 2004. Tororo district may face an environmental catastrophe if the district administration does not stop deforestation, forest experts from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), said.
A recent tour of the district by NEMA officials and MPs on the Natural Resources committee, reveals that forest cover in the district is on the decline because of lime and charcoal burning activities.
Wilfred Baanabakintu, NEMA’s spokesman, said among the many factors, which have led to loss of soil fertility acoss the district include the increasing population pressure and poor farming practices.
The team discovered many large-scale lime-burning projects in the area, which are detrimental to the environment.
The most affected areas are in Tororo Municipality, where dust pollution is on the increase, exposing residents to health hazards. The dust also causes visibility problems as well as contamination of water sources. The team attributed the increased dust cover to poor methods of lime extraction. To overcome these problems, NEMA has financed the establishment of about 48 nursery plant beds and five micro-projects to restore the area’s forest cover.
The micro projects include Agururu catholic women project, Mudodo Women tree planting project, Amagoro Youth tree planting project, Aburi CCF project and Malaba Women group.
NEMA has also provided Tororo district with quarterly operational funds with which to facilitate environmental management activities.
Baanabakintu said NEMA had sponsored the training of 32 trainers in environment management, all of whom have been deployed at parish levels to assist the local communities.
NEMA has also been involved in the formulation of environmental ordinances, by-laws and the district environment action plan, all of which have been integrated into the District Development Plan and the formal education sector.