Simon Longoli one of the concerned environmentalist and a resident of Auriki Akinei village in Iriiri sub-county in Napak district, says that the campaign to protect the environment and planting more trees in Karamoja is being undermined by government officials
Karimojong women selling charcoal in Napak district
Residents of Iriiri Sub County in Napak district Karamoja sub-region
have accused district officials of promoting charcoal trade in Karamoja.
Simon Longoli one of the concerned environmentalist and a resident of Auriki
Akinei village in Iriiri sub-county in Napak district, says that the campaign
to protect the environment and planting more trees in Karamoja is being
undermined by government officials who are buying charcoal and load in
government cars taking to their destinations.
According to Longoli, many government vehicles go to Karamoja empty but on
their way back to Kampala or Soroti they park many bags of charcoal giving a
room for locals to continue cutting down indigenous trees for burning charcoal.
“Despite the efforts by government and other development partner’s fighting environmental degradation in Karamoja, majority of
people are venturing in felling down of trees because of the high demand of
charcoal and it’s mainly being promoted by people driving government
cars," he said.
Peter Akudo a parish councillor of Alekilek parish in Iriiri Sub County
said they have tried their effort to block cutting down of trees for charcoal
burning but they have failed because the buyers of the charcoal are the government
“If government officials could avoid buying and loading charcoal bags along
Karamoja routes, am sure very many people would have left because there
will be no business but now people are continuing cutting trees and burning
charcoal well assured of the available market,” he said.
Samuel Lote another youth said they will soon start intercepting and arresting
government drivers who load charcoal in government cars.
“We are going to do whatever it cost us to save the environment by
arresting any lorry or pickup loaded with charcoal in Napak and it will be
worse with those using government cars for transporting charcoal.
Paulina Lokongo the senior natural resource officer of Napak
district local government said the rate at which trees are being destroyed
in Napak is worrying.
“It would be very great if the youth are now opening up to fight
against environmental degradation in Napak, ”she said.
According to Lokongo in a day they are more than 1,000 trees being
cut down in the entire Napak district for charcoal burning without being
Alhaji Jallow, the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2017 while
launching commercial tree planting drive in Karamoja warned that should people
of Karamoja don't embrace tree planting as a serious project, Karamoja region
will become the worse desert area in the coming years due to high rate of tree
cutting for charcoal.