Energy alternatives mooted as attentions move to fight climate change

Last Updated on: 30th May 2023, 07:36 am

By Ceaser Okello

Lira, May 30, 2023: For a couple of years, Lango sub-region and Northern Uganda as a whole have been faced with limited rainfall arising from climatic change.

This is because there are cases of continuous and drastic tree cutting for logs, charcoal for cooking and wetlands degradation. According to the Uganda Wetlands Atlas (UWA), wetland destruction costs Uganda nearly shs2 billion annually, and contamination of water resources is significant.

In the last 25 years, as of a February 2020 ministerial statement by State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, Northern Uganda registered the lowest degraded wetland areas at 21 per cent.

However, 46 per cent of wetlands in Eastern Uganda were degraded by February 2020, according to the minister.

Degradation levels in the central and western regions stood at 29 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. Wetland degradation has been majorly due to the expansion of subsistence agriculture, industrial developments and settlements.

Now, different stakeholders and organizations are at the forefront of fighting the culture of tree cutting and charcoal burning in Lango and Acholi sub-regions.

It is believed that those buying tons of charcoal from Northern Uganda are taking it to Central and Western Uganda where it is understood to have a good market and returns.

As the only way of mitigating this, SNV is spearheading the use of different approaches in reaching the community that is mostly affected by this environmental vice.

On Wednesday, May 24 and Thursday 25, journalists hailing from Lango, Acholi and Kampala attended a training organized by SNV at Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu City.

The purpose of the training was to equip them with knowledge on how best they can help in creating awareness on the best practices for charcoal as a popular cooking method.

Jacob Eunganan, one of the facilitators working with IMEU  said that there is a need to adopt the use of energy-efficient technologies that are even cost-effective.

Etunganan reveals that communities and institutions like schools and health facilities can minimize exorbitant expenditure for cooking by applying energy-efficient technologies.

According to him, there are different technologies like the use of solar, hydropower, biomass and others.

He said adopting the use of original technologies is another option, but said some people go for cheap things yet in the end is costly.

They have in place 2.1 million euros geared towards helping all categories of organizations, milling factories and schools for energy adaptation as the project ends in 2025.

Etunganan further said that the use of flat iron can easily be utilized to consume fewer units of power, calling for behavioural and mindset change.

He appealed to Journalists to use the knowledge they acquired from the two days of training by creating awareness in the community that still depends on the use of charcoal and firewood for cooking.

David Kenedy Odongo is the Alebtong District LC5 Chairperson who also doubles as the Chairperson of all LC5s in Lango; DK said most people in Lango still depend on charcoal and firewood for cooking at home.

Odongo said this is happening simply because the community cannot afford the use of different technologies such as electricity, and gas cylinder, among others.


He, however, appealed to the government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to reduce the cost of electricity tariff mainly for domestic use if all people are to start using electricity for cooking.

Odongo said the recent Presidential Executive Order banning commercial charcoal business will go a long way in the protection of the environment that has caused climate change in the region for the past five years.

On Wednesday, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni issued Executive Orders as enshrined in Article 99 (2) of the 1995 Constitution banning the burning of charcoal and its commercial sale in Northern and North-eastern Uganda.

Simon Obong Opio, the Chairperson LC3 of Adwari sub-county in Otuke district, said the community needs to be sensitized on the new technologies so that they understand them well.

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