By Jerome Kule Bitswande
KASESE: The bishop of the catholic diocese of Kasese, Rt. Rev. Francis AquirinusKibira, has embarked on a campaign to protect the environment in the Rwenzori Region.
The Rwenzori and Kasese in particular, has been experiencing extreme weather conditions ranging from storm winds, drought, and landslides to floods.
It is against this background that bishop Kibira has directed all catholic believers to plant trees.
Kibira who made the directive during Ash Wednesday prayers at Kasese Cathedral in Kasese town said the area is facing climatic challenges due to environmental depletion and degradation.
The prelate ordered all Catholics across the diocese to plant at least two trees during the lent season.
“This is an order from the bishop, each one of you must plant trees in this season.” He said
Kibira revealed that any catholic who fails to plant the trees should not even consider going for Holy Communion on Easter.
Kasese has more than 200,000 Catholics; should every catholic heed to the bishop’s call, by end of March, a total of 400,000 trees will have been planted.
Kevin Mclean, the president of Sun 24 Solar in Florida, USA, applauded the efforts by the bishop and Catholic Church in protecting the environment.
Mclean partnering with local firms in Kasese has been working on reducing environmental degradation by providing low wood consumption stoves to the rural people.
The clay-made stoves, dubbed rocket stoves, emit no or very little smoke during the cooking.
Rosette Masika a resident of Kisanga ward in Kasese Municipality who has been using the rocket stove for two months said she now uses firewood five times less what she was using earlier.
Mclean said all people ought to work towards reducing fossil fuels into the air and planting more trees so as to protect nature and curb the current climatic challenges.
John Monday, an environment protection activist from Educate a Child International said Kasese has been experiencing harsh climatic conditions due to deforestation arising from increased demand for fuel.
Firewood and charcoal are the fuels majorly used for cooking in Kasese and the entire country. Monday says if the people could use the rocket stoves and then heed to the bishop’s call to plant trees, the district would make great strides in protecting and conserving nature.
“If we don’t conserve nature, in the next forty years, Kasese will be uninhabitable for the people.” Monday said.
Monday said human activity continues to disrupt the eco-system which is recipe for disaster.
Meanwhile Kasese District assistant, Chief Administrative Officer, Wilson Asaba, has emphasized the importance of weather forecast, advisory and early warnings to natural disasters in Kasese.
Asaba called on experts to strengthen the resilience of communities in withstanding the environment challenges.