UNOC’s Go Green Campaign Gains Momentum

A TOTAL of 2,250 trees have been planted at the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) in Kiryandongo District, comprising African Teak, Eucalyptus, Mahogany, Jackfruit, mango trees, oranges, Soursop and Lemon. Others are Grivellia, Terminalia Catappa, Musizi and Neem.  

These were planted within the institution’s estate based on their suitability for the various spots, which have hitherto had no vegetation cover.

Students, locals and UNOC staff were involved in planting the trees, an initiative of the Company Go Green Campaign, which generally focuses on native and fruit trees.

GM Uganda Refinery Holding Company, Dr. Michael Nkambo Mugerwa said it is aimed at enhancing the institute’s living environment while developing a sustainable response to climate change challenges.  

Happening amid the first rains, the activity is the third of its kind at UPIK. In June 2022, 100 teak trees were planted and in February 2023, 25 Musizi (hardwood) trees were planted. 

The June 2022 activity was the launch of the campaign, which is in accordance with Goal 13 (Climate Action) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). In total, 40 million trees are to be planted countrywide in a span of five to seven years.

The initiative will encompass 36,950 hectares comprising natural forest conservation/restoration of forest corridors for wildlife habitat conservation, private plantation establishment, and collaborative forest management.
Trees are a key feature of our surrounding, utilizing carbon dioxide for nutrition purposes in a process called photosynthesis. This natural capture of carbon dioxide helps to, among others, reduce the gas, which creates a layer that traps the sun’s rays close to the earth’s surface.
Without the natural extraction by trees, and activities lacking mitigation measures, carbon dioxide would increase leading to undesirable global warming and the attendant consequences. 
Additionally, trees (forests) are vital catchment areas ensuring availability of water for agricultural production and are habitats for forest wildlife.
Unfortunately, in part due to the need for agricultural land and the widespread energy poverty - lack of clean, efficient and affordable energy - most people continue to rely on trees (forests). 
Trees are cut and chopped into firewood or burned in kilns to produce charcoal. Charcoal burning exacerbates challenges as it emits carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas particularly indoors.
Seven in every ten households in Uganda (73%) use firewood for cooking, while two in every ten households (21%) use charcoal. Combined, biomass fuels (firewood and charcoal) constitute the main fuel for cooking 94 percent of the households, according to the Uganda National Household Survey 2019/2020 Report.
According to the National State of Environment Report 2018-2019, forest cover in Uganda has been declining, from 23.8% (4.8 million hectares) in 1990 to about 9.9 % (2 million hhectares).  
“Natural forests have experienced a decline in the past decades while plantation forest has registered an increment between 2010 and 2017 from 3% to 8%,” reads the report, adding, “Overall decline in forest cover has also been halted and, for the first time since 1990, a net forest gain has been recorded.”  
The worrisome trend highlighted in the report and the need to ensure net zero carbon emissions from Uganda’s Oil & Gas sector, has prompted officials at the UNOC to launch the campaign. END