Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The inaugural Uganda Water and Environment Week has climaxed with the three-in-one celebration of the World Water Day, World Forest Day and World Meteorological Day, which highlighted the inseparable link between forests, water and weather.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, Alfred Okidi, closed the event Thursday on behalf of the Minister Sam Cheptoris.
To mark World Forest Day, PS Okidi enumerated the benefits of planting tries around urban areas and cities. He said that forests and trees store carbon, mitigate impacts of climate change and help save energy used for heating by 20 to 50 percent. Trees also filter the air and reduce noise pollution, not to forget the beautification of cities. T
he theme for the World Forest Day was: Forest and Sustainable Cities. “Let us give priority to greening our cities in order to enjoy the many benefits of urban forests,” Okidi said.
On World Water Day, Okidi noted that the demand for water is ever rising to serve different sectors like agriculture, industrialization among others. He revealed that 33% of Ugandans lack access to safe drinking water yet it is envisaged that the population is expected to more than double by 2050.
He urged Ugandans to use nature based solutions to re-balance the water cycle, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve human health and livelihoods.
Under the theme “Weather-ready, climate-smart”, the World Meteorological Day was marked, with a call to the public to seize opportunities related to weather, climate and water. “ The world currently faces a wide range of hazards. Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather and climate events,” Okidi said.
“Such calamities include heavy rains, heat waves, droughts, floods, landslides and many more. More than ever, we need to be weather-ready, climate-smart and water-wise,” he urged.