Environmental activists under the Walkers Association of Uganda have embarked on a 700 km walk to create public awareness about the need to protect the river Nile from pollution and degradation.
The activists comprising six professional walkers who are partnering with the Ministry of Water and Environment started their journey from Elegu Town Council in Amuru District on September 28, 2023.
By Monday, the walkers had already covered 181 kilometers and reached Anaka Town Council in Nwoya district where they intend to engage district officials.
The walkers are trekking along the river Nile routes passing through the districts of Amuru, Nwoya, Oyam, Dokolo, Amolatar, Kaberamaido, Nakasongola, Kayunga, Kamuli Wakiso, Buikwe, Jinja, and end in Kampala on October 16.
Joseph Odong, a Senior Water Officer at the Ministry of Water and Environment told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the walk is instrumental in drumming up support towards saving river Nile.
Odong says the river Nile, which serves a number of countries under the Nile Basin is already facing significant threats owing to rapid industrialization and urbanization that not only affects the quality of the water but also the biodiversity.
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According to Odong, the walk is aimed at collecting views from the public along the Nile route so that they are presented during the conference where the member states will dialogue on among others sustainable management of the Nile River.
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Uganda has been selected to host this year’s 7th Nile Basin Development Forum conference which will be from October 16 to 18 this year in Kampala. The regional event is convened every three years by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and brings in 11 Member States forming the Nile Basin countries to dialogue in transboundary water source management and development.
Geoffrey Ayeni, the team leader of the Walkers Association of Uganda says the river Nile remains an important asset for more than 200 million people across Africa who exclusively rely on it for various uses and needs to be saved.
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Dansun Oco, one of the walker's team members says the population boom has seen more people encroaching on the river Nile for economic gains which in turn threatens the existence of the river which has fed people for several years.
He says the walk is a wake-up call for other stakeholders to join in the fight against pollution and degradation of the river Nile for the benefit of future generations.
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Rapid urbanization, population boom, and industrialization have over the years seen an increase in the level of pollution in the Nile River, making it unsafe for use by humans and aquatic life.
In response to the pollution, the Ministry of Water and Environment recently developed a catchment management plan to prevent the degradation and pollution of the river Nile and other water bodies in the country.
The Nile River one of the longest in the world with its source in Jinja, Uganda flows over 6,600 kilometers and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.