UBOS to blame for environmental degradation
Publish Date: Apr 29, 2014
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By George Wamunga

Reading the New Vision story (NEMA powers to be trimmed) has left me wondering how the executive branch agency charged with protection of the environment is now being accused of degradation. I pray that NEMA does not follow NAADS.

If this was the US’s EPA, a disbandment probe committee would now be in the offing. Though the US and company are not committed to Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020), the Australian government is struggling to disband the Climate Change Commission (CCC) for its strong stance on carbon pricing. I am hesitant to recommend a swap of NEMA for the Australian CCC.

However, what underlies all these contradictions is the actual contribution of environmental resources to human welfare. It is not hypothetical for policy makers at various levels to choose their set of actions by accident.

We all appreciate the government desire to increase sugar production at the expense of some parts of Mabira CFR.

Currently, Bududa District is struggling to degazzate the only local forest reserve for sh79m.

Considering our rate of environmental degradation, I would not be too wrong to assert that it is as a result of low value attachment.

I wish to disregard the shallow thinking of adopting environmental education on our school curriculum as a useless and wasteful undertaking for any policy maker at this stage. I can read your minds trying to grasp a simple solution-peasantry approach!

The wide spread formal and informal wetlands degradation throughout the country is failure by stakeholders to know their worthiness.

I, therefore, wish to believe that the inability by UBOS to capture relevant data that forms a basis for decisive, technical and informative aspects has accelerated environment degradation.

For instance, there is no way NEMA can conclusively push for a water purification levy to industrialists polluting Kinawataka wetland without credible statistics.

The current cost of water in Kampala Metropolitan District cannot be rationalised without the inclusion of sewage treatment and water purification functions of wetlands estimated at sh38m/ha/yr and projected at sh87m/ha/yr by 2020.

Yet such costs are neither taxes nor disincentives for water use but private costs to NWSC. It is, therefore, correct to believe that the costs of water do not reflect the cost of production.

Economic instruments are rationalised by statistics and you cannot conserve without knowing the value. Needless to state, environmental indicators can only be generated in a survey not a census as UBOS wants us to believe.

The writer is an environmental policy student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.


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