Kayonza – The Mayor of Kayonza District, John Mugabo, yesterday, issued a stern warning against illegal felling of trees for charcoal burning in the district.
This follows reports indicating that several grassroots leaders have in the past fraudulently connived with charcoal burners, especially in Kagyeyo and Ndego sectors, to undertake the illegal practice.
“We recently arrested a woman transporting hundreds of sacks of charcoal. She was holding an expired document we had issued to a farmer,” he said.
The mayor particularly censured such leaders, saying the district would not tolerate environmental degradation for individual benefit.
“It is not possible for people to continue cutting down trees without being caught...they must have some backing. The culprits will face justice. We are working with security agencies to trap the corrupt elements and illegal charcoal burners,” he added.
A resident of Rukara Sector, Richard Kazimiri, told The New Times that several hectares of trees across the province were being cleared annually to meet the ever-growing demand for charcoal.
“We definitely need the precious trees and charcoal to survive and to protect them. But, if we keep cutting trees down at the current rate, in few years’ time, there will be none left,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents have expressed concern over the escalating price of charcoal in most districts.
“People can’t afford to use charcoal now because of the price hike,” a resident of Kayonza town lamented.