KAKUMIRO, Uganda — A strong desire by charcoal producers in Uganda to cash in on the soaring demand for charcoal for cooking, especially in urban areas, is resulting in environmental degradation on a large scale, threatening the health of both human and natural communities. Pressure is so intense on forests that food-providing fruit trees on private lands are being bought, cut down and burned to make the polluting wood sourced fuel. According to a 2016-2017 Uganda National Household Survey summary, the country’s reliance on forest-produced fuels, including charcoal and dry wood, is huge, with 90% of households relying on various wood fuels for cooking. In urban areas, household charcoal use jumped 12.4% between 2012-13 and 2016-17. That consumption pattern — as urban charcoal use puts pressure on rural forests — is thought to be continuing today, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. This soaring call for charcoal has led charcoal makers, many of them operating without government-required licenses, and dealers to devour forests at a fast clip to keep pace with the lucrative business. A woman covering a smoldering charcoal kiln with soil at a production site in Kyankwanzi district, Uganda. Many families earn their living through their charcoal production businesses. Image by Alex Tumuhimbise. Joseph Muchombero, a resident of Kakindo in Uganda’s western Kakumiro district, some 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Kampala, the nation’s capital, has long been in the charcoal production business. He educated all of his children, he says, with the money earned from the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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