Parliament will name a Committee on Climate Change in a campaign to mitigate global warming, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has revealed.
She made the revelation while launching a tree planting initiative towards climate change mitigation in the Lake Victoria catchment area of the new Katosi water treatment plant on Thursday, 11 July 2019.
“Parliament has taken responsibility seriously on climate change. We have now moved from the parliamentary forum on climate change to have a committee which we shall name next week,” said Kadaga.
She asked National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to provide free tree seedlings to primary schools.
“I see children here, give them trees to plant in schools and their homes so that they grow up knowing how to plant trees,” said Kadaga.
She warned local authorities against promoting deforestation, saying that leaders should be at the forefront of afforestation.
“I was very angry to hear that a court ordered cutting of Bugoma forest. We were told that we cannot interfere with a local government forest; who is the local government and who is it for. I think the forest was planted with resources of the people and government,” said Kadaga.
She also expressed disappointment with the Minister of Finance, saying that the ministry has repeatedly frustrated efforts to operationalize the Tree Fund.
“I am very angry with my grandfather, the Minister of Finance for not operationalising the Tree Fund. On two occasions, we passed the money in Parliament; when they went back somewhere, they cancelled it. I don’t know where our priorities are,” said Kadaga.
She urged Members of Parliament to continue advocating for the operationalization of the Tree Fund.
The Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, called on NWSC to set aside a budget for protection of the environment.
“One cannot have water without protecting the environment. When the environment is not protected, you will have no water, and existence of NWSC depends on protection of environment,” said Cheptoris.
He urged the Corporation to emulate developed countries like Costa Rica, which he said, has reserved a percentage of tariffs particularly for protecting the environment.
“In the case of Uganda, this reserved percentage would go to National Forestry Authority,” said Cheptoris.
The Executive Director NWSC, Silver Mugisha gave a re-assurance that the new Katosi water treatment plant will boost water supply in Kampala for the next 10 years.
“We are here seated on a site which is meant to construct a project whose intake is 240 million litres of water per day but we are initially going to put 160 million litres. As you know, we have been having areas of dry zones but when this project is completed, we shall be assured of constant water supply,” said Mugisha.
He added that the tree planting project is aimed at ensuring sustainability of the eco-system by avoiding water pollution.
“The reason we are going into the lake is because the lake is polluted at the shores and we are being proactive to see how the lake is protected,” said Mugisha.
He said that NWSC plans to plant 18,000 trees around the Lake Victoria catchment area of the new Katosi water treatment plant and one million countrywide.
He noted that the effects of climate change are adverse and affect water supply, hence the need to plant trees and preserve the water systems.