“We need to value the role of the environment; water is life and the environment is the future," says State Minister for the Environment Beatrice Anywar.
GULU - The need to protect and save the environment was re-emphasised as the inaugural Running out of trees (Root) run ended in Gulu on Saturday.
For two days, runners from the Kampala Hash Harriers, the corporate world and others completed a 330km relay marathon from Kampala to Gulu, aimed at creating awareness on the need to plant more trees to preserve the environment for future generations.
After the flag-off by the Speaker of Parliament on Friday morning, Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga and Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) MD Alvin Mbugua and other runners got the race under way for the first 10km.
They then handed the baton over to SSP Chemonges Seiko at Total Maganjo, before other Hashers took turns at every 10km stop to continue with the run.
Speaking at the end of the run at Pece Stadium in Gulu, State Minister for the Environment Beatrice Anywar noted that there is need to engage more in the planting than cutting of trees.
Schools and homes should take the lead in the campaign, she added.
"It is time to walk the talk after all those running battles to save the environment. We are going to ensure we put in place the right legislation so that conserving the environment becomes a priority for us as a country," said Anywar.
'Environment is the future'
The minister said local governments should also be brought on board and that every homestead should plant 5-10 trees every year.
"We need to value the role of the environment; water is life and the environment is the future. We need to step up because we are already blessed as a country."
Meanwhile, UBL boss Mbugua, who completed 20km of the run, said the remarkable feat was intended to create a better Uganda and benefit future generations.
"At Uganda Breweries, we recognize that trees are a potent weapon in the battle against the impact of climate change and our goal is to ensure that ours and other businesses cause neither long-term critical depletion of natural resources nor lasting damage to species, habitants, biodiversity or the climate in which we operate," he said.
Mbugua added that the run will culminate into the planting of 40 million trees each year for the next five years. He thanked all corporate companies and the environment ministry for allowing the partnership.
"As UBL we remain committed to galvanise the private sector, bring as many companies as we can on board on this agenda, for we believe this is something no single ministry, company, local community or individual can do alone unless we all pull together to realize our goal."
More sensitization of the public on the value of trees was voiced.