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Restoring the environment: Zombo district to hold second annual tree planting run

ZOMBO, February 15, 2024 – Zombo district in partnership with development partners is set to organise the second edition of the Environment and Education Run aimed at mobilising local communities and learning institutions to plant trees to restore the environment.

According to the organisers, the Run aims to bring together stakeholders in Zombo district to respond to the risks posed by climate change which has become a global concern.

Some elders in the district say it used to have thick forests such as Lendu, Ossi, and Awang in the early 1980s but they faced deforestation in the early 2000s as people looked for timber, firewood, logs, and charcoal.

One of the elders Mark Okumu added that the hills which used to be covered with thick forests were cleared by the locals in disregard of environmental conservation.

“If we are experiencing global warming, we must blame ourselves for encroaching on the eco-systems, and there’s a need to advocate for massive tree planting,” said Okumu.

Last year, a similar run meant to save the environment, in the long run, was organised by a consortium of different three organisations including; Life Concern, Nebbi NGO-Forum and Community Empowerment for Rural Development [CEFORD] in Partnership with Zombo District Local Government. Sub-counties of Nyapea, Zeu, Athuma, and Aka participated in the annual tree planting exercise.

Emmy Kizito Kakura, the Executive Director Life Concern urged the local communities in Zombo district to use the trees sustainably, saying careless cutting of trees for different purposes must be checked if the local environment is to be conserved.

This year, the annual tree planting campaign and environment run will be held in the sub-counties of Abanga, Jang-Okoro and Paidha, respectively.

On his part, the District Inspector of Schools Zombo, Silvio Jalar cautioned parents to desist from selling land to pay school fees for their children. He advised the parents to use the available land to generate money, such as planting trees for commercial purposes, as well as engaging in commercial farming.

However, the Zombo district LCV Chairperson, James Oyulu Onora said the current population in the district has overwhelmed the available trees, calling for more to be planted, if the district is to avoid environmental disasters in the years ahead.

He said learning institutions and local communities in the district should be provided with free tree seedlings if the campaign to restore the environment is to succeed, stating that most of the locals are too poor to afford seedlings.

“Most of our land owners are poor and can’t afford to buy seedlings, if possible, free tree seedlings should be given yearly to communities and learning institutions to plant,” he said.

For his part, the District Environment Officer Zombo, Martine Owor attributed the depletion of trees/ forests to human activities such as agriculture and charcoal burning.

He disclosed that about 60 percent of the total population in the district doesn’t have enough land to support tree planting on a large scale. He urged the community members to form cooperatives that can contribute land for tree planting.

“There’s a problem of land fragmentation where most of the community members have less than an acre of land, which does not allow planting trees on a large scale. But still, there’s a need to sensitise the community on the importance of tree planting,” he told this reporter.

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