|A discussants cross section on the NEA ACT at Acode.
As Uganda’s population is increasing, currently estimated at 40 million people, a lot is left to be desired especially in terms of livelihood and urban waste management. Man has been impelled to clear wetlands and forests in search for livelihood. However, despite the dilemma sustainable growth and development is still needed, environmentalists and other stakeholders have come up with models and policies that will contribute to promotion of a sustainable economy i.e. the green growth model which looks at inclusive growth and development. Policies on environmental protection have been formulated and approved but their implementation has been and is still a major challenge due to limited or no coordination amongst stakeholders.
Despite the role of authorities and environmental bodies / organisations and the blame that comes when their responsibilities are not realised in environmental protection, coordination/ joint effort among stakeholders i.e. community members, government and private institutions is very key. There is need for political will to allow effective policy implementation and law enforcement, need for social/ community responsibility to protect and comply with laws and mind set change i.e knowing that as one clears the forests for agriculture today, tomorrow he/she will need the rain in crop growth thence important to plant trees whenever one tree is cut for any livelihood or development activity.
Waste management is an urban challenge that is aggravated by the limited social responsibility. Local authorities should become more visible here to save the environment from waste pollution especially in the trade areas, community members need to be mindful about the environment in which they live, they should be responsible in promoting good waste disposal since they are the primary generators. Coordinated effort and support to adopt new technologies in environmental management for example use of energy saving cook stoves at both household and institutional level should be encouraged and use of briquettes in waste management. These innovations are not only environmentally friendly but also economically friendly as they promote saving on the cost that would be spent on buying charcoal or fire wood.
Therefore, effective environmental management, needs coordinated effort among stakeholders at all levels other than being a blame game.