PAKWACH: The residents of Pakwach and other neighbouring districts of West Nile have been urged to embrace vigilance by reporting illegal deforestation and charcoal burning to avert the effects of global warming.
The appeal was made shortly after impounding a truck ferrying sacks of charcoal out of West Nile region through Pakwach district without license.
Officials of Pakwach district on Monday impounded the truck with charcoal after a tip off from the community in Kwiocwiny in Nebbi district when the driver dodged a check point mounted by Zombo district forest enforcement officers where the charcoal was loaded from.
Ms Jennifer Oweka, the district production officer said the inability to offer reasonable monetary bounty to whistle blowers has greatly affected their effort in tackling the increasing rate of extinction of different species of trees in West Nile region.
"The issue of eradicating charcoal burning is so complex, and it is everyone’s responsibility. We are faced with unwillingness on the side of whistle blowers who can’t alert us from villages. We intend to motivate them by offering some little money to report such cases but the money is not enough for them to support us," she said.
Oweka added that Pakwach district was set to host the regional meeting in April for West Nile districts’ forest departments to forge a way forward on how to interlink their operations by integrating the whistle blowers and their protection but the meeting was hampered by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Mr Peter Oyunrwoth, a resident of Alwi village, an area where charcoal burning is rampant urged the forest department officials to consider intensifying their operations in rural areas before charcoal is burnt and parked.
Oyunrwoth also called for training of whistle blowers and their protection.
"I'm in support of having whistle blowers in the community but let their screening be thorough to avoid being compromised and let their details be confidential to attract many to volunteer," he suggested.
Pakwach as an exit and entrance district from West Nile region, is battling illegal cases of charcoal burners finding their way into the district through the Albert Nile.
As a result, Pakwach district security team has tasked the local leaders especially in Panyango and Wadelai sub-counties to report persons accessing and burning charcoal in the areas illegally.
Mr Swaib Toko, the Pakwach resident district commissioner warned against conspiracy in the fight of environmental protection, saying the office of the President has mandated all RDCs to protect natural resources.