Uganda: Public Stealing Weather Equipment Over Mercury

Mbarara — The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA), has condemned the theft and dismantling of its weather equipment across the country by people who think the gadgets contain mercury underneath.

Mr Godfrey Mujuni, a data manager at UNMA, on Tuesday said there are some unpatriotic members of the public who are making their weather forecasting hard, despite the Authority making strides in improving the quality of weather data.

"Even the stations we put up there [across the country], people think there is a lot of mercury and they end up stealing them," Mr Mujuni said at the meeting organised by African Centre for Trade and Development (ACTADE) and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

"Now automatic weather stations are powered by solar but sometimes we realise we don't get data and we find that the solar panels have been taken," he added.

The meeting that brought together government officials, private sector, academia, media and relevant civil society organisations, was aimed at raising awareness about climate change, how Uganda is addressing it or helping communities cope with the monster.

The quality of raw data from the countryside, determines the final weather advisories that UNMA gives to the public who use it for aviation industry, farming among others uses.

Mr Bob Natifu, the assistant commissioner in-charge of Climate Change Directorate in the Ministry of Water and Environment, said forestry, protecting wetlands, investing in modern transport systems that does not emit a lot of emissions among others as priority areas to tame global emission contributions.

Mr Donnas Ojok, an officer at The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, appealed to participants at the meeting to do something about climate change and not to lament.

"The era of climate change is now. We do not need to complain or blame people. We have money, technologies to do something," he said.

Although Uganda's contribution to the warming of the earth due to her limited industries, the country is among the most vulnerable to impacts of climate change such as drought, high temperatures and floods due to the agrarian nature of the economy.

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