To achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan III, stakeholders have said government must prioritise water and the environment as a resource.
According to experts,this will go a long way in protecting the environment.
The remarks were made during the Uganda Water and Environment Week that kicked off on Sunday under the theme”Water and Environment Resources for Inclusive Growth, Employment and Wealth Creation.”
The Uganda Water and Environment Week should have happened in March 2020 but couldn’t due to the COVID19 pandemic outbreak.
The event will happen throughout the week online via zoom and it will be closed on September 18th, 2020.
The board chairperson, National Planning Authority(NPA), Prof Pamela Mbabazi, said the country must deliberately develop her water and environmental resources by measuring and evaluating the targets annually and make changes.
“Our collective efforts are being undermined by the thinking that protection of water is the duty of NEMA and other authorities. Water is life, and the protection of water should be a collective effort,”said Mbabazi.
The chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Natural Resources, Dr. Kefa Kiwanuka proposed the need to increase penalties on those found littering the environment.
“We have banned the use of single-use plastics. In the event that a wetland or forest is being depleted, someone can sue on behalf of the wetland. These have not been enforced,”Kiwanuka said.
Kiwanuka noted that the problems we are having are not affecting the government that much saying that environment calamities affect individuals more therefore there is need for individual measures to help respond to environmental challenges.
The Minister of Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said water is key in employment and wealth creation noting that here is no activity that can happen without water either as a primary or secondary input.
He said water is vital for livestock, agriculture, fisheries, waste discharge, tourism, and environmental conservation.
In the president’s speech delivered by Vice President Edward Ssekandi, he pointed out the relevance of water to agriculture.
The president said agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to the economy, yet farmers are poor saying that individual farmers’ productivity is low due to lack of water as they depend on rain, which is very unpredictable.
Museveni added that the adoption of irrigation will be a remedy to boost commercial farming in an effort to transform Uganda into a modern and prosperous country.
Museveni also expressed concern that the environment is under a lot of pressure despite its importance in water formation pointing out the depletion of forests because Ugandans use firewood and charcoal.