SSP Ashraf Seiko Chemonges from the Police Operations Directorate was one of the runners that took part in the maiden Run out of trees (ROOT) awareness Run. The two-day Run spearheaded by Uganda breweries in partnership with the ministry of water and environment was flagged off by the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga on Friday at Parliament with 33 runners covering 330KMs from Kampala to Gulu.
Each of the runners covered 10kms carrying and passing on a baton inform of a commitment for the private sector to be at the forefront of driving efforts of rehabilitating our lost tree cover.
‘ROOT’ is part of a series of activities aimed at raising awareness on the rapid deforestation in Uganda and calling upon corporate companies and citizens to participate in forest restoration, according to UBL Managing director Alvin Mbugua.
The 33 runners were decorated with medals at the finish line in Gulu with the minister of Water and environment Hon. Beatrice Anywar gracing the Gulu function together with ministry officials and Gulu local government leaders.
The campaign will climax into a National Tree Planting Day to be held on April 25th, 2020. On this day, Uganda Breweries Limited and the Ministry of Water and Environment shall be leading an effort to plant 40 million trees in 8 hours at the same time aiming at planting 40m trees every year in the five years of the campaign.
Anywar hailed UBL and the other partnership for taking lead in fight for environment. “We need to sensitize the masses especially on other options like solar, gas among others to curb the forest depletion,” she said. Stanbic Bank Uganda, Liberty Life Assurance, Total, UEGCL, and KCCA are the other partners in the campaign.
Going forward, the “Running Out of Trees” Relay will be held annually for the next 5 years. The next run will be held in January 2021 and will take the Kampala – Fort Portal route. In ‘E Green’ Initiative, UBL has planted over 55,000 trees across the country since 2005. Statistics from the National Forestry Authority show that Uganda lost 2.4 million hectares of forest cover between 1990 and 2015. This translates to an annual loss of 96,000 hectares, which acreage is equivalent to 96,000 football pitches.
During the same period, the forest estate outside protected areas reduced from 68% of the total forest land area in 1990 to 38% in 2015. This means that almost half of the non-gazetted forests were cleared in just 25 years.
The Ministry of Water and Environment is already implementing restoration interventions and aims at planting 100 Million trees this year and the ROOT campaign in partnership with Uganda Breweries is a step towards this goal.