Uganda: Emissions from fridges, old cars worry MPs

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AS the world prepares for the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change conference, members of the parliamentary forum on climate change have expressed concern over emissions by old vehicles and fridges.

The concern was raised during a consultative meeting on ongoing climate change processes and Uganda’s preparations for the conference to be held from November 13 to December 1, 2015 in Paris, France. Forum chairperson, Eddie Kwizera observed that the emissions by old vehicles and fridges are affecting people’s health, a matter that should be handled urgently.

He said that cancers are on the increase due to these emissions. In this financial year’s budget, Government increased the environmental levy from 20% to 35% on used motor-vehicles of five to 10 years old.

A 50% environmental charge was also imposed on 10-year-old motor vehicles and beyond in the national budget unveiled by Finance Minister Mattia Kasaija. Recently, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, Doris Akol defended the increment in the environmental levy on the importation of used cars, saying the spike in the cost of shipping 'old' cars to the country will supplement efforts to protect the environment from pollution.  

Air pollutants from transport include nitrogen oxides, particles, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, which are said to have a damaging impact on the health of people, animals and vegetation locally.

The MPs also expressed concern about the ongoing degradation of wetlands in various parts of the country and criticised the national Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) for applying the law selectively. Iki-Iki MP, Jeremiah Twa-Twa said, “All these things are happening because we have not managed our population very well.”

Chebet Maikut from the Climate Change Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment explained that the purpose of the meeting was to engage Parliament on Uganda’s preparedness to fulfill its obligations under the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change and other international climate change policy processes.

“The threat of climate change is the biggest threat to survival of humanity now and in many years to come. Climate change is already here with us. It is inevitable,” Maikut said citing the erratic rainfall patterns, drought, and diseases.

“What is critical for Uganda is how to build resilience and adaptive capacity to impacts of climate change,” he noted. He urged Ugandans to think about rain harvesting.

SOURCE: New Vision, 13/07/2015,