South Sudan's teak plantations and forests have been depleted amidst war and other conflicts. (Courtesy photo)

Yei-based environmentalist urges govt to invest in tree planting

An environmental activist in Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County has urged the Government of South Sudan to invest in tree-planting projects to fight climate change.

An environmental activist in Central Equatoria State’s Yei River County has urged the Government of South Sudan to invest in tree-planting projects to fight climate change.

This comes as the country is experiencing heat waves that have led to the closure of learning institutions due to the high temperatures across the region.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Friday, Anur Emmanuel, an environmental in Yei, said, it is high time the national government take steps towards investing in tree planting projects and empower the line ministries.

“Supporting tree planting initiatives and ensuring that everybody embraces the culture is an integral role of the government because it is responsible for the wellbeing of its citizens. As much as citizens also take charge of creating the environment they need, the government has very important line departments like the county agriculture forestry, and environment departments,” he urged. “So, the government needs to inject resources into these departments to strengthen them, empower the human resources, and give them all the necessary support. These department leads have to be in the forefront.”

Anur added: “There is too much logging which is a lucrative business and so many trees, some species which have been around for over 100 years, have been cut down in minutes and destroyed.”

He said the government should curb indiscriminate logging and ensure that there are proper laws in place.

For his part, Amos Lugala, the commissioner for forestry and environment in the county, advised the local population to embark on planting at least 2 to 3 trees per household and that those in the rural areas should plant trees like teak and mahogany.

“We advise our people to plant 2 to 3 trees in a compound in the suburbs and those in the villages to continue planting trees like teak and mahogany,” he counseled, adding: “In Yei, we have two NGOs that are willing to support the government to help the people on the ground. This year, Yei River County has plans to plant trees in Lasu, Mugwo, Tore, Yei, and Otogo payams. The NGOs want to help farmers with the planting of trees.”

Lugala however warned that those involved in illegal logging activities will be arraigned before court since there is a local order against the practice.

Yei River County has witnessed widespread legal and illegal logging in the recent past that has led to the depletion of its tree cover.

The county which has had cool temperatures in the past now posts 37 Degrees Celsius which experts have attributed to deforestation in the area for lumber and charcoal.

According to county officials, it is however going to be mandatory for every citizen to plant trees to conserve the environment with the tree planting initiative this year.