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Fourteen-year old environmental activist inspires Water Week participants

 

Bonita Murungi (left) poses with the Director, Directorate of Water Resources Management Ms Florence Adongo

Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Bonita Murungi Arinaitwe a Climate Change Advocate and student at Nabisunsa Girl’s Secondary School, has appealed to the Minister of Water and Environment to enact a law which compels people who cut down trees to buy seedlings double the number of trees cut.  This way, there will be more trees planted than cut.

She was speaking during the Uganda Water and Environment Week in Entebbe, where she was invited to address the session titled: Children’s voice on Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change.

Arinaitwe says she started advocating for climate change when she was in Primary six at Aga Khan Primary School.  “My journey started during a class debate when I was chosen to give views about climate change,” she recalled.

The 14-year-old, currently in senior two explains that her school would choose delegates to represent it in different schools and luckily, she was among the chosen.

“I was chosen in Primary six and seven. In 2016 I was invited to talk for the first time at the first annual cooperation on youth forum on climate change,” she stated.

“With time I have gained interest in environment conservation and I believe that   the first step to take is to become environment friendly,” she added.

Murungi explained that due to rampant tree cutting and air pollution, the future of children is bleak. Children are currently faced with the sad reality of global warming and rising temperatures.

Quoting environmentalists, she said 600 million children worldwide will face death, disease and malnutrition by 2040. And that one in four children will either die or face stunted growth or suffer from lack of water by 2040.

The second edition of the Uganda Water and Environment Week started on Monday in Entebbe, with the theme: Water and Environment a strategic driver in attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

Way forward

Murungi made several recommendations to sector leaders including:

  • Control pollution. Instead of burning plastic materials such as bottles, polythene bags, let us be innovative enough to recycle them into useful items.
  • Spread the word amongst the youth and also remind the elders to always protect mother nature.
  • A single family should not own more than two cars. This will reduce dangerous fumes in the environment.
  • Do away with cooking systems that use too much smoke.
  • Plant trees to protect the environment and reverse the effects of climate change.
  • Enact a law where people who cut down trees should pay money to buy seedlings hence doubling the number of trees they have cut.

In her crusade against climate change, Murungi has authored a book titled: The Life of A Forest. The book speaks of the dependence of human life and the forest. It is the third book she has authored so far, the other two being Friends and The Brave Prince Michael.

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SOURCE: UWEWK newsletter

 

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