BY AMBROSE GAHENE
In a bid to support the green agenda, Umeme in partnership with Gulu City has launched a tree-planting drive aimed at promoting environmental sustainability and the effects of climate change.
As part of its U-Green efforts, Umeme Ltd has partnered with Gulu City administration to plant 200 Tabebuia chrysotricha (pink trumpet) trees along Ring Road as a proactive measure to support the City’s ecosystem and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Urban greening is very important in the well-being of Urban and city dwellers. Umeme’s Managing Director Selestino Babungi speaking during the tree planting exercise said trees planted in the city have many benefits which include cooling the streets from reflected heat of the hard surface, aesthetics, air quality, biodiversity conservation among others.
Umeme believes that supporting the City will help to cultivate a culture of environmental conservation amongst its staff and the people of Gulu.
“As a business, we are keen on sustainability and the green agenda. In line with this, we are partnering with the City of Gulu to plant trees and support the City’s environmental sustainability efforts in this journey.
Urban forestry has been sighted as one of the action areas to achieving the UN SDGs 2030 goal 11 on sustainable Cities and communities. Besides, this year the Country through the Ministry of Water and Environment (MoWe) declared the next 10 years as a decade for action. The Country has also set a target to plant 40 million trees. Through the action of planting trees today in Gulu city, Umeme is contributing to these targets.
The pink rosy trumpet is a very beautiful tree with great aesthetic quality that will light up the city street with blossoms of flowers in the near feature. Besides, it will cool the city, improve the air quality and also act as a nesting site for the city birds.
Gulu City Resident City Commissioner Mr. Denis Odongpiny speaking earlier on Wednesday thanked Umeme for this initiative aimed at beautifying Gulu City. “Environmental conservation is very important and we have a plan to make Gulu a green city and we shall support Umeme,” he said.
He also commended Umeme for stabilizing the power supply in the new city which will spur growth and create jobs for the youth.
Babungi said climate change was not mere talk because the world is experiencing a lot of challenges due to human activity such as deforestation and encroachment on wetlands among others.
“We find this a very important cause to plant trees,” he said.
Thulani S. Gcabashe, Founder and Executive Chairman Built Africa Holdings while speaking at the recent Energy Mkutano said the increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, water vapor, and nitrous oxide), is a major contributor to global warming, which in turn is a cause of climate change that has been observed over an extended period. In addition to these gasses, it is known that agriculture, forestry, and other land use also contribute to global warming.
Whereas North America accounts for 29 percent of global emissions, the EU 22 percent, and Asia 29 percent, Africa only accounts for just under 3 percent of emissions (and 2 percent of global coal demand). This would be commendable if it was an indicator of Africa’s energy efficiency, however in reality it is an indication of Africa’s “energy poverty”.
The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this year issued a Red Alert on climate change impact. “What this essentially indicated is that we are almost out of time if we are to reach the target of reducing the rate of increase in the rise in global temperatures by 1,5 degrees centigrade in order to achieve net-zero increase by 2050.”
However, Mr. Thulani says the good news is that there is still time to limit climate change, but this will only happen if we implement decisive and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the next 20 years or so.
In October 2016, Umeme Ltd launched a long-term tree planting initiative “U-Green” to mitigate the impact of climate change on the environment and inspire community action on environmental conservation.
Through this initiative, Umeme collaborates with NGOs, Schools, and Government entities to implement tree planting projects around the country championed by a “U-Green Club” composed of members of staff.