The continued influx of South Sudan refugees has exerted more pressure on environment with more trees being cut for firewood in the refugee settlement camps.
Reports from the Office of the Prime Minister indicate incessant cutting down of trees in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement Camp.
While speaking to Daily Monitor on Wednesday, the Yumbe District chairperson, Mr Yassin Taban, noted that the refugees have started burning and selling of charcoal in the camps, a business venture that was banned by the district council over environmental concerns.
He said activities of cutting down trees in the camps are rampant but the concerned authorities managing refugees are not taking action.
“We understand that the partners are busy with emergency cases but there is need to address the issue of the environment by conserving it. It would be good for the partners to organise skills training for the refugees as alternative source of earning a living instead of engaging in charcoal business,” he said.
Mr Taban attributed the continuous dry spell in the area to the destruction of the environment.
He called for an environmental audit before the district embarks on a tree planting campaign.
Mr Solomon Osakan, the refugee desk officer in Office of Prime Minister, said they intend to conduct a sensitisation campaign on the environment in the camps before the end of the year.
“We know environment is a serious issue but we shall use all the possible ways to conserve the environment,” he said.
“It is not a deliberate move as we are still for emergency responses but we have a plan to invite more partners to address the issue of environment in the camps,” he added.
He said the current weather cannot favour planting of trees but come next year during the rainy season, they will plant more trees to conserve the environment.