The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has embarked on the campaign to plant over 7,000 trees in Ntungamo District as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility activities as it marks 20 years of existence.
Presiding over the inauguration of the campaign at Muntuyera High School, Kitunga where the project will be located on Tuesday, the UCC deputy executive director, Alice Nyangoma, said the move is intended to protect the environment as well as aid the school to get firewood in future and preserve the green environment.
“We have had a challenge of environmental degradation and restoration of the environment is a measure. Planting these trees shall enable the depleted environment to rejuvenate but also aid the school in future for firewood and more income? This will be the basic symbol for our 20 years celebrations. We shall manage the trees until they can be given fully to the school,” Ms Nyangoma said.
The 7,000 trees shall be planted on a 7.2-acre piece of land donated by the school in Rwashamaire Town Council. The school head teacher, Twine Joseph Muganga, said the project shall be a relief to the school.
Several UCC officials were in the area planting over 1000 trees on the first day with students, teachers and members of the community involved in the process.
Nyangoma said the commission shall take care of the trees for 6 years before handing them over to the school which will at the time start harvesting.
According to the National Forestry Authority, the country loses about 100,000 hectares of forest cover every year, a situation that is worsening the effect of climate change.
In April, State Minister for Environment Mary Goretti Kitutu has said Uganda’s forest cover has been depleted to 8% up from 24% in 1990s, attributing it to human encroachment for different activities like agriculture and tree cutting for timber and charcoal.
Since the departure of the colonial government in 1962, Uganda, once described by the British imperialist Winston Churchill, in 1908, as the “Pearl of Africa” partly because of its rich flora and fauna, has seen massive depletion of forests.
Some forecasts gloomily predict that private land will not have forests in the next 10 years.
This is backed by evidence from a 2016 Joint Water and Environment Sector Review Report that says forest cover has reduced from 24 percent in 1990 to just 11 percent in 2015.
Between 1990 and 2005, natural forest estate outside protected areas reduced by 35 percent (from 3.46 million hectares in 1990 to 2.3 million hectares in 2005). People are converting hitherto forested land into agricultural land, timber, and charcoal burning zones.