CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS.
BURGERERE SUPPORT ORGANISATION [ BESO] UGANDA.
Mr Aaron Bukenya-Director
Mr Kalka Hussein-Coordinator
Mr Nicolas kynigos-Project & environmental advisor
Mrs Britta Konsalik-Project chairperson
Uganda is situated in mid-eastern Africa. Uganda’s rivers and lakes, including wetlands, cover about 18% of the total surface area of the country. Situated southeast of Uganda is Lake Victoria, the principal source of the White Nile and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
Lake Victoria is very significant for the Ugandan economy, since it is the source of almost all of the country’s hydropower and provides the domestic and industrial water supply for the three biggest towns in Uganda: Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe. It is also an important location for the fishery and horticulture industries. Additionally, the lake serves as a key transport link between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda’s total annual renewable water resources are estimated to be 66 km³. With an annual average of 2,800 m³ of water available per capita, Uganda is better off than many other African countries. However, rapid population growth, increased urbanization and industrialization, uncontrolled environmental degradation and pollution are placing increasing pressure on the utilization of freshwater resources.
Northern and eastern Uganda experienced both droughts and floods in 2007 floods, following the heaviest rainfall in 35 years, which destroyed crops and affected thousands of people.
The Mount Elgon region in particular experienced landslides and floods, the report predicted.
The Rwenzori region in western Uganda reduced rainy seasons, which affected crops like beans. In addition, the ice caps on the Rwenzori Mountains receded by 40% in the last half century, which reduced the water flows into River Semliki.
Karamoja is already one of the hardest hit areas, according to the report. The region experienced seven droughts between 1991 and 2000.
As the area became drier, this increased food in security, animal losses and conflict over water. The report also foresaw outbreaks of tick-borne diseases, dust storms which cause chest and eye infections and the expansion of the tsetse fly belt.
Climate change also led to the spread of malaria to traditionally cooler areas like Kisoro, Kabale and Mount Elgon where people have a low natural immunity to the disease.
Anemia resulting from malaria will increasingly affect women’s health and become responsible for maternal mortality.
In Kampala more rains increased risk of floods and drainage problems, causing outbreaks of cholera and diarrhea.
The water levels of Lake Victoria (central region) will continue to go down, according to the report, leading to a reduction in power generation and affecting fish breeding grounds.
This also led to a reduction in fish catch, especially for fish which breed in shallow areas and use shoreline wetlands as refuge from predators, according to the report and Bugerere Education Support Organisation (BESO) stands a better chance to put mechanisms in place to prevent the same occurrences as forementioned.
To protect and conserve the environment mainly to enhance development in homesteads for the betterment of their standard of living.
1.3 Basic goal
To ensure that the beneficiaries in the project area live in a healthy and conducive environment that, enables them to be more productive and self reliant hence, development.
i) To protect and conserve the environment in the project area.
ii) To sensitize the masses about the relevance of protecting and conserving the environment.
iii) To educate the beneficiaries on the dangers of conserving and protecting the environment.
iv) To ensure measures / strategies are put in place to contain or minimize climate change.
v) To find a lasting solution for environmental degeneration hence, enhancing personal, community and national development among the beneficiaries.
1.5 Statement of problem
Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change and variability - its economy and the well being of its people are tightly bound to climate. Human induced climate change in the coming century has the potential to halt or reverse the country's development trajectory. In particular, climate change is likely to mean increased food insecurity; shifts in the spread of diseases like malaria; soil erosion and land degradation; flood damage to infrastructure and settlements and shifts in the productivity of agricultural and natural resources.
It will be the poor and vulnerable who feel these impacts the hardest, though climate change has serious implications for the nation's economy, for example, a shift in the viability of coffee growing areas potentially wiping out US $265.8 million or 40% of export revenue. Exacerbating poverty and triggering migration as well as heightened competition over strategic water resources, climate change could lead to regional insecurity.
Approximately half of the drop in level between 2000 and 2006 can be explained by excess releases at the outflow of the lake made in order to meet power generation demands, whilst the other half appears to be due to climatic factors. It is not yet possible to conclude that climate change is affecting lake levels - Lake Victoria has a long history of high variability in lake levels in response to natural climate variability. Instead it appears that lake levels are returning to the lower levels experienced before the unusually high levels of the 1960s and 70s.
Fluctuations in lake level will continue to have an impact upon the generating capacity of Uganda's hydroelectric facilities and on infrastructure around the lake such as domestic water supply, irrigation and transport infrastructure. The effect of lake level fluctuations and increased temperatures due to climate change on the fishery and ecosystem of the lake is less well known. The resilience of the Lake Victoria ecosystem to climate change can be increased by reducing the impact of other stresses such as over-fishing, soil erosion and pollution.
Early adaptation to climate change can moderate impacts and even secure benefits. New international finance and political attention on climate change also has the potential to strengthen weak institutions and to reduce the social vulnerability and inequity which has long been a target of development assistance.
Water and Ecosystems make up 13% of the total surface area covered by wetlands, Uganda is very rich in biodiversity. In spite of the existence of national policies and laws for the conservation of ecosystems, there has recently been an observed decline in aquatic biodiversity in most of Uganda’s water bodies. This has mainly been attributed to destructive fishing habits, increasing eutrophication as a result of pollution, degradation of riparian watersheds and deforestation.
However, environmental consequences increase levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th and early 21st centuries have produced no deleterious effects upon Earth's weather and climate. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in hydrocarbon use and minor greenhouse gases like CO2 do not conform to current experimental knowledge.
Political leaders gathered in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 to consider a world treaty restricting human production of "greenhouse gases," chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2). They feared that CO2 would result in "human-caused global warming" – hypothetical severe increases in Earth's temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences. During the past 10 years, many political efforts have been made to force worldwide agreement to the Kyoto treaty.
When we reviewed this subject in 1998 (1,2), existing satellite records were short and centered on a period of changing intermediate temperature trends. Additional experimental data have now been obtained, better answers to the questions raised by the hypothesis of "human-caused global warming" are now available.
Uganda's climate is naturally variable and susceptible to flood and drought events which have had negative socio-economic impacts in the past. Human induced climate change is likely to increase average temperatures in Uganda by up to 1.5 ºC in the next 20 years and by up to 4.3 ºC by the 2080s. Such rates of increase are unprecedented. Changes in rainfall patterns and total annual rainfall amounts are also expected but these are less certain than changes in temperature.
The climate of Uganda may become wetter on average and the increase in rainfall may be unevenly distributed and occur as more extreme or more frequent periods of intense rainfall. Regardless of changes in rainfall, changes in temperature are likely to have significant implications for water resources, food security, natural resource management, human health, settlements and infrastructure.
In Uganda, as for the rest of the world, there are likely to be changes in the frequency or severity of extreme climate events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. It is from this background that BESO would like to spearhead the Implementation of the project.
1.6 Statement of solution
Things like hectic climate change, polluted air, acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, and an increase in poverty prove that the way we use things is ineffective. All we need to do to reduce the problem is simply to be less wasteful. Here are some ideas on how to help everyone!
Use renewable energy sources. In the USA around 71% of electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. Burning coal or other fuels emits green-house gases and pollution in the environment. An average home powered by a coal utility will burn 12,000 pounds of coal a year and will cause about the same amount of pollution as 2 cars.
By using renewable energy as the primary power source, the reduction of pollution per household would be equivalent to that of planting 400 trees. Many electric companies offer power from renewable sources (sometimes at a slightly higher fee). Another option is to rent solar panels, as these are becoming increasingly less expensive. Contact your local energy provider for more information.
Why should we care about the environment? Yes we should care if we allow companies to pollute the air, rivers the environment we live in now. it could be too late for the next generation to put right. And we could endanger the health & lives of not only the local people of our communities but even the lives of our own families for generations to come there lives are in our hands so please do CARE.
All of the above are baby steps that we all need to do, why indeed; do we live in an environment? Because it is where we live, not in a vacuum, everything we do creates the environment we live in and if you have complaints, they are your answer to find out what to do to create your environment for your future. How would you take this responsibility if you lived in a Town or city?
The baby steps we take may be small but every thing starts with that first step on the road to a more safer, cleaner Environment, we must also develop a more caring attitude to all things that can effect the health and safety of this planet. We only have one world and how we all live on it affects the environment, if we do not take steps as a team working together for the benefit of every living organism, then it may be too late when pollution is found in your own back yard.
Not being aware of the need to care for the environment is more understandable, it is up to the people to be made aware and care for the environment. I make it a point to inspire people via my personal actions and words, we all desterparately need to care more for the environment we choose to live in.
The bottom line on how to care for the environment is by lowering our pollution to a safe level where most living organisms in the world, including human beings, will be able to continue its existence. In answer to critics who "think" that environmentalists or people who care for the environment are aspiring for zero pollution, we are not or at least I'm not as I personally believe that doing so is impossible based on a simple analysis that even when we exhale, we contribute to pollution, it's our aspiration to lower all types of pollution in this world to a safe levels by reducing our carbon print.
There are small ways one should do to contribute less pollution. I hope will inspire you to do so as well:
Replace all regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs
· Purchased environment-friendly appliances at home
· Shut down all my appliances whenever I leave home except for my refrigerator of course
· Recycle at home by re-using recyclable things such as plastic bags that I use as my garbage bag.
· Use bio-fuel blend in car
Use se environment-friendly household, personal care and other biodegradable products
UGANDA is already experiencing the negative effects of climate change and the situation is expected to worsen as impending calamities will affect agriculture, infrastructure and health, the 2009 State of Uganda Population Report predicts.
The report, released in 2009, lists the risk posed by climate change as reduced agricultural productivity, leading to increased food prices and food insecurity, which in turn will cause malnutrition. Already, the report says, 40% of deaths among children are due to malnutrition.
Uganda is also likely to experience changes in the frequency and severity of climate events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms, the report noted.
This will affect the country’s development efforts and cause shifts in the spread of diseases like typhoid, dysentery and malaria. It will also lead to soil erosion, land degradation and damage the infrastructure.
“This situation compromises the country’s ability to meet its own development objectives and the Millennium Development Goals,” the report says.
In Uganda, urban areas are defined as settlements with over 5,000 inhabitants. Towns of 5,000 to 15,000 inhabitants are classified as small, and those with more than 15,000 inhabitants as large. Based on these criteria, there were 106 small towns and 43 large towns in Uganda in 2004.
The current urban population is estimated to be 3.7 million out of a total population of 25 million. The urban population has been growing faster than that in rural areas – the overall population growth rate is 3.4%, while that in urban areas is 4.1%. The percentage of the population residing in urban areas increased from 12% in 1993 to 14% in 2003. National urban water coverage is an estimated 65%, up from 54% in 2000. The sanitation coverage is equally low, 65%.
The percentage of rural inhabitants with access to improved sanitation increased from 68% in 1991 to 85% in 2002. However, access to clean and safe water is still far from universal. In 2003, only 59% of rural inhabitants had such access. Frequently, people have to collect water from distant locations. This burden falls mainly on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of society.
The long distances they travel significantly reduce their productive time and subsequent contribution to the economic development of the country. Furthermore, the amount of water that can generally be collected is insufficient to meet drinking, cooking and hygiene needs. According to National Surveys conducted in 1996 and 1999, average rural per capita water consumption was found to be about 13 litres per day. Though the sanitation coverage has increased significantly, in some rural areas, basic sanitation still remains elusive, due to poverty and low hygiene and sanitation awareness.
A consultative meeting will be organized at the sub-county and at village levels in which the project purpose and activities will be discussed with the beneficiaries and participating stakeholders. During this meeting, the methodology and work plan will be fine-tuned in a participatory way. The roles of the, beneficiaries, local government, and local councils will be defined.
Uganda sustainability project projection plan.
The project will be implemented in Kayunga district and various stakeholders will participate including farmers, trainers, agricultural extension agents.
The criteria for selection will put into consideration, the beneficiaries’ willingness to participate, and availability of land participation in other groups. Two sub-counties will be selected for the project. In each sub county, 5 parishes will be selected. In each parish, 4 beneficiaries’ groups, a total of 20 of about 10 farmers organized at village level shall be targeted. Community participatory meetings shall be held to sensitize the communities and district officials and local leaders about protection and conservation of the environment.
During these meetings, the group leaders will be nominated with assistance of local leaders and extension staff. Because of their significant role in development, project management will ensure active participation and adequate representation of women beneficiaries. The selected beneficiaries will sign a memorandum of understanding with the project agreeing on the principles and standards required. They shall be trained in the techniques of protection and conservation of the environment.
These will be Community Based Trainers (CBTs) who will work closely with the CBSO and OAs to assist in project extension, monitoring and evaluation. Their demonstration farms will be exemplary as sites of quality seedlings for multiplication and shall be used to disseminate the technology to other beneficiaries using grassroots approach.
N.B Village Based groups will be put in place to support the project and as they are easily accessed in respective communities.
1.12 Action plan
There are plenty of little steps that people can take at home to help save the environment. While the eco-footprint of each step is small, thousands of people doing the same thing can make a difference. In making some small changes to the way that you do things at home, you are gradually making a difference, even as an individual. You will kill costs and improve your health at the same time, so helping to save the environment isn't a totally altruistic exercise.
Dispose of workshop items with care. Old paints, oils, pesticides etc. should not be tipped down the drain - the residues end up in our waterways. Dispose of these items through municipal disposal schemes or use the landfill option if there is no other choice.
Plant native species. They need less watering, are hardier (hence, less products needed to protect them) and they attract the local wildlife.
Plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and provide shade. They provide homes for wildlife and some trees can provide you with a bountiful harvest. In addition, what's better than being able to step outside and pick a few strawberries or an ear of corn? Increase your own resilience by converting wasted lawn space into a vegetable garden. Consider using drip-irrigation systems or constructing or purchasing a rain barrel (it saves you having to pay to pump water back into the ground).
Compost. Compost the kitchen scraps and create beautiful garden matter to encourage better plant growth. Make sure the heap is warm and well-turned. Read a few books about composting. It's rare to find someone highly skilled in the area! Remember, soil is a living thing; it should not be powdery and dead. Life comes from the soil, and therefore the soil should be kept alive. Avoid highly invasive tilling if at all possible, but be sure to keep the soil aerated.
We all breathe the same oxygen and drink the same water, keep our planet green and clean.