Despite certain shortcomings, boiling water is still the most common means of treating water in the home and the benchmark against which alternative household-based disinfection and filtration methods must be measured. Much as it is a dependable method, it has posed a threat to the environment as a lot of wood is cut to be used as fuel to boil drinking water and prepare meals.
The burden of accessing firewood – almost always fall on women and girls, as they are responsible for cooking family meals in most rural communities. Without nearby, safely accessible natural resources, women and girls often travel long distances to find sufficient firewood to cook for their families. Firewood collection is incredibly dangerous, exposing them to the risk of physical and sexual violence. Sadly, every day, millions of women and children risk being raped, beaten, or killed as they collect firewood. They must often traverse rugged terrain harboring thieves, wild animals, and threats of all kinds while carrying the heavy loads on their backs or heads as they trek back home.
In my recent visit to Kabarole district that is characterized by Tea growing farms, I observed that most of the shade trees planted to shelter the tea plantations had been cut down by neighboring communities to be used for wood fuel as they were planted in more secure and easy to access to areas.
Also traversing the sub-counties in Kabarole district, I couldn’t help but notice people still fetching water from polluted and unprotected sources that were easily accessed by animals. All this is because nearby safe water sources like piped water, boreholes, shallow wells are costly and non functional. This water is then taken home and boiled for consumption.
Introduction of improved cook stoves and repair and maintenance of clean water sources can go along way in saving deforestation.There is still a gap that needs to be filled in the access of clean safe water; this in-turn will reduce the pressure being put on trees.