By Robert Ariaka and Prossy Nankanj
Leaders in Arua have warned the public not to destroy indigenous fruit trees and spices by using them to burn bricks.
The most endangered fruit tree species are mangoes, jackfruit, avocados and guavas.
Brickmaking is a major source of income for many youths and other individuals in the city, especially during the dry season.
The leaders warn that the continuous destruction of fruit trees will lead to the extinction of the fruits themselves.
The urban population depends on wood fuel that is derived from firewood that is obtained from the rural aresa, thus destroying forest cover from Laura Forest in Arivu, Kafu Forest Reserve in Logiri, Ajai Game Reserve in Madi Okollo and other indigenous trees from the communities.
Wood fuel is sold at sh45,000 per cubic metre on the open market. At least 10 to 12 cubic metres are needed to burn a huge heap of bricks which costs sh540,000.
Frank Andama, a brickmaker in Arua city, says that he gets firewood from those who sell it, but when there is a shortage he is forced to get firewood from fruit trees from the neighbourhood.
Ayivu east most at risk
The senior environment officer for Arua city, Mary Dawaru, acknowledges the threat imposed on the trees and identifies Ayivu East constituency as the area that is being destroyed the most.
“It is true that indigenous trees are facing threats from loggers, brickmakers and those who burn charcoal. This is notably in areas of Riki, Oluko and Dadamu in Ayivu East constituency,” Dawaru cited.
Section 4(3) of the National Environment Act 2019, implores the Government to apply precaution and restriction measures in all activities that lead to the destruction of the natural cover and other ecosystems.