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The public needs to understand the value of conserving naturePublish Date: Sep 03, 2009
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Morrison Rwakakamba

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the organisation that is mandated to conserve and protect our environment, has a crucial role in sensitising the public.

Issues that need to be addressed include proper waste management and disposal, tree planting, polythene bags, climate change and air pollution.

There is need to explain to the public the dangers of carbon emissions brought about by the bad mechanical state of cars as well as motorcycles, popularly known as boda bodas, as most of them are not serviced regularly.

Sensitisation can help prevent issues such as the recent killing of the National Forestry Authority (NFA) officials, breaking down of buildings constructed in wetlands, the persistent use of banned polythene bags and driving cars in dangerous mechanical condition.

Many people do not know why NEMA or NFA exist, while others allege the organisations are politically-motivated and meant to sabotage people who earn a living from selling timber. Producers of polythene bags have the same mentality. They claim a political group wants them to be jobless because they are not affiliated to their party.

It is, therefore, absurd that organisations meant to sensitise masses on the advantages of such policies are not playing their role. Through sensitisation, NEMA can help the public understand how to protect the environment.

Stakeholders and organisations at the forefront of conserving the environment need to come together and encourage the public to join them.

If this was done, the public would appreciate the role of such organisations in our society and crime would be minimal.

Seeing that millions of Ugandans are grappling with garbage and worried about the climate change, many would appreciate information on how to conserve the environment.

The environment takes centre-stage in Uganda. As one of life’s greatest resources, everybody ought to know the importance of conserving it.

If environmental bodies encouraged constructive dialogue with the public, environmental issues would be addressed and the public would co-operate. This would also enable environmental bodies punish law breakers without resistance from the public.

Interpersonal communication is an effective way to disseminate information and can be influential in decision-making at the grassroots.

Communication has proved powerful in addressing the HIV/AIDS scourge. Conferences, radio broadcasts, community mobilisation meetings and seminars have helped stem the spread of the disease.

The Abstain, Be faithful and Condom use (ABC) strategy has won many individuals and the nation accolades because of the way it has been enforced. As a result, the HIV prevalence rate has dropped.

NEMA and NFA can pick a leaf from the way the HIV scourge has been handled. Communicating timely and accurate information about the environment is the first step towards achieving a friendly environment.

Informing the public challenges people not to misuse natural resources and similarly, feedback from the public would be to the advantage of environmental organisations.
The writer is an environment
activist

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