Green Park in Kampala

Breathing life to Africa’s intoxicated urban cities

Environment

The industrial revolution and adaptation of technology in almost all aspects of human survival may be causing a lot of excitement in what is presumed to be the dot com era.

This is definitely a major achievement in human evolution, where every human need seems to be online. However very little effort is being taken to assess and check on the impact of the industrial revolution and technology on the eco system.

Industries release toxic chemical wastes into the drainage and water system suffocating aquatic life, machines and automobiles pollute the air space reducing the percentage of oxygen which is an essential for existence of life.

Repeated emissions continue to deplete of the ozone layer resulting to unpleasant effects. Some of the effects are very direct including higher rates of sunburn, skin cancer, eye damage and other diseases, as well as long term indirect effects including reduced plant growth, Climate change and Global warming.

The United Nations warns, Africa is most at the risk of global warming compared to any other continent. Africa is already feeling the associated effects of climate change and global warming evidenced by prolonged droughts, erratic rainfalls and drop in water levels across a number of African countries.

Actually, the UN humanitarian agency through its chief Mark Lowcock warned More than 2 million people could face starvation by the end of the summer, unless there are urgent efforts to respond to the drought in Somalia.

A factory in Nairobi releases smoke to the atmosphere, industries are one of the biggest causes of pollution in many African cities- Photo credits- Exhibitionaffairs.com

The impact of industrialization and technological advancement is unanimous and affects every human being irrespective of political, social and religious affiliation. The quest is how to we ensure the availability of the very basic aspects of human survival including oxygen and food.

In this article I would like to explore how Africa which houses the world’s most polluted cities in the world could turn tables round to provide a healthier and safer environment for her people.

Trees and green vegetation are known to be the best processors of air for human consumption. Unfortunately to Africa, A city means a place full of buildings, traffic and huge numbers of people. They have forgotten that the cities need a bit of green to have a balanced eco system. It is clear that almost every piece of land in city centers is cleared to pave way for what is termed “development”, but who says we cannot have small organized gardens within our cities that could help process our oxygen? Yes these are termed Green Parks which are public area with trees and grass where people can sit and rest. Many think though, green parks are  public gardens designed to offer a meeting place for city occupants and political activities, but there is a lot the Green parks have to offer in balancing the ecosystem.  

Air pollution from vehicle exhaust pipe on road in South Africa

It’s not only absurd and greedy but selfish and reckless that in cities like Kampala, Kinshasa and Harare public green parks have been abandoned and their land given to investors dubbed as developers who are mounting arcades, shopping malls and industries.

Most of these cities are infested with huge populations of more than  3.5 million people, one would only wonder where these people will get their oxygen from. Green Parks could be of vital value in providing the much needed oxygen and absorbing some of the carbon emissions from traffic, factories and other machines.

It is my prayer that Governments in Africa need to rethink the policies concerning public spaces, their protection and preservation. States need to invest more in countering the effects of pollution because the ends results will not only hurt the low income earners but the populations and generation to come. It is very clear, No matter how rich or poor you are, Oxygen is never bought save for extreme condition in hospitals. That is why the same oxygen I breathe is the one you do and so is president Trump.

Some countries in Africa like South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana have a few green spaces, but still the magnitude is very low compared to European countries.

Africa is our home; we do not have another like it. Let’s work together to protect and preserve it to be the dreamland for generations to come and all races world over.

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