Citizens in Uganda fight back against rain forest plan
Sep 8, 2011
Plans to turn part of protected rain forests in Uganda into sugarcane fields could lead to more protests from the country's citizens, IRIN reports.
Government officials and the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited are trying to revive the plan to get rid of 30,000 acres in the Mariba Forest to plant sugarcane as the country continues to have sugar shortages. Furthermore, officials claim the development will bring new jobs, the news outlet reports.
Planning was halted for some time after at least three people were killed during a protest against the plan back in 2007. And if re-instated, many are willing to fight again.
"As the youth, we are not going to just look on as the most prestigious rain forest in our country is being given away under uncertain terms just for sugar," activist Brendah Nabukenya, told the news outlet. "Destroying it is like erasing part of our heritage. We believe it's a conspiracy between the few who have the power who are putting self above our environment."
Aside from the natural beauty, environmentalist and humanitarian groups fear the project could cause more natural disasters.
"The forests protect micro-climates and because we have degraded our environment, we are witnessing landslides every year now," Frank Muramuzi, executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, told the news source. "Giving out Mabira will be counter-productive because it will even affect the rainfall."