By Ben Ssebuguzi
Kampala: A Policy Brief number 3, March 2002 titled “The Costs of Environmental Degradation and Loss To Uganda’s Economy With particular Reference To Poverty Eradication” by Yakobo Moyini1, and others indicates that the cost of health care and loss in labour productivity from mortality and morbidity due to contaminated water has been estimated at a further cost to the Ugandan economy of between US$ 22 – 35 million per year.
On the other hand, the same report indicates that improper handling of solid waste by the community for example costs the City Council of Kampala up to UGX 1.5 billion per month in garbage collection and disposal.
The brief notes that the severity of this environmental problem is compounded by the fact that the livelihoods of many Ugandans intimately depend on the environment, both as a source of subsistence and as a basis for production.
Planned Action Task for Development has come out to bridge that gap and create awareness about environmental health, map out local organization involved in environmental health but also carry out capacity building.
The Ugandan government has formulated a number of policies to regulate land use and impacts on the environment. These policy frameworks seek to integrate ‘‘environmental concerns in the socio-economic development planning of the country”To date, the Ugandan government has developed a number of policy regimes to regulate and influence land use and environmental impacts.
For example, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP, 2000), the Sector Wide Approach to Planning for Water and Sanitation Sector (2002), the National Wetlands Policies (1995), the Environmental Impact Assessment Resolutions (1998), the National Environment Management Policy (MLWE 1994), the National Environment Statute (MLWE 1995), the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (GoU 1995), and the current draft of the National Land and Land Use Policy, among others.
The National Environmental Management Statute was also enacted, establishing the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) as well as providing for a broad range of issues pertaining to the functions of NEMA and measures for environmental protection including water resource management.
By and large, Planned Action Task for development should be supported by Ugandans because they have innovative solutions with holistic approaches that do not antagonise investors but promote sustainable responsible investment which have environmental health in perspective.
In conclusion,also Planned Action Task for Development is already targeting to work with Total EP and CNOOC and other oil companies to secure and create awareness of how to secure and create awareness of how they conserve the environment despite the adverse effects of oil exploration.
Ben Ssebuguzi is the spokesperson of Planned Action Task for Development and Secretary General of Uganda Poor youth movement.