My Account on How does Climate Change Affect Uganda Nowadays

On my way to Nebbi district in northern Uganda, a land commonly known as West Nile (named after River Nile) earlier this year, I was terrified. Once covered with green and moisturized air suddenly overtaken by dry fields accompanied by discomforting warm air; for it had not rained for the past three months and a half. As soon as we arrived, got off the car, a cheering group of mothers whom we had come to train in business skills with joy received us. Listening to them tell their stories of how the drought has led to famine hence claiming lives of loved young ones and the elderly. How the change in climate has crippled the agricultural production sector; as a result, causing increasing poverty levels. “What was going so wrong in this place that could be fixed?” I asked myself. Because of poverty, Nebbi resorted to the cutting-down of trees for charcoal burning to earn a living. Hence, farther reduce any possible chances of them getting rain. Just as Nebbi, so is the rest of Uganda. Our behaviors towards the environment have yielded to harsh climatic conditions. Swamp reclamation for industrialization or infrastructure development. In central region trees destroyed to create room for sugar production; swamps are reclaimed and replaced with factories of other forms of infrastructure.

What we do not seem to realize is that with every swamp we have reclaimed, we have lengthened the dry season a little bit longer. With every tree we have cut, we have exposed ourselves to floods or even worse contributed to the expanse of the Sahara desert. With every omission or pollution into the atmosphere from our old vehicles, factories and so on, we destroy our ozone layer, worse still increasing levels of global warming in Uganda. What used to be the pearl of Africa today is slowly realizing the region classification it’s getting which is- sub-Saharan Africa to relate to desertification. In 2010, foods cause mudslides and floods claiming lives of over 1000 Ugandans, destroying property and displacing hundreds of thousands. Due to climate change, the El Niño rains hit central Uganda destroying a lot of property for months. Recently according to the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and WFP, we registered the longest dry season and drought in the history of Uganda. As a result, reports of famine and deaths due to hunger were reported from Eastern and Northern Uganda. Our acts of negligence and ignorance are killing our land.

As a result, the air is getting warmer and warmer by the day, our dry seasons are becoming longer hence affecting our agricultural culture of farming. We are living in a twilight era between light and darkness, meaning we have the chance to make a difference to combat the effects of climate change. Plant more trees, protect our wetlands and practice modern forms of agriculture for example irrigation. Create more awareness out there, that climate change is real and its effects are catastrophic; let us do something about it.

-Emmanuel Wabwire

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