Juba’s struggle with effects of climate Change
By Paul Jimbo
Though globally celebrated as a major milestone toward realisation of a lasting peace in South Sudan, the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 also had its fair share of curses to the local environment.
The return of peace marked the beginning of serious urbanization across the world’s youngest nation.
Besides the government’s efforts to set up administrative units in major cities across the country, investors too thronged South Sudan, Juba City included to secure a piece of the country’s then bubbling economic benefits.
Investors in both the manufacturing and hotel industries sought strategic positions more specifically along the banks of River Nile.
Competition for the high dollar circulation in the city pushed both local and international investors to line up their investments along the River Nile.
Their businesses demanded for space and so all the traditional mango and other indigenous trees that lined up the River banks had to be cut to pave way for space to set up modern hotels that had water fronts.
Some unscrupulous individuals also cut down the mango tree plantations in small highlands around Juba City.
Before the city welcomed the huge numbers of residents, Juba was such a cool place to live and of course all the different species of fish could be available in local markets and in plenty.
However since the surge in the city’s population the situation is otherwise, all the Mango trees were felled down for timber and firewood to clear way for building spaces that today host Juba’s sky crappers.
Commercial activities including heavy disposal of solid and raw affluent into the River Nile has seen a sharp decline in the number of fish in Juba’s markets.
The city is literally chocking the River with raw affluent and some manufacturing farms have continued to directly channel their wastes into the river.
Juba neither has any sewerage lines nor a storm water drainage system nor so does its topography, which simply dictates that all wastes and storm waters end up in the River Nile.
The river’s water levels down the stream have drastically reduced because the city relies on hawked water sourced by water bourses to quench its more than 3 million populations.
Today, Juba’s traditional rainfall pattern is unpredictable. While the city and its environs used to receive rains between April and June, today, Juba rains have become a myth as nobody can predict rainfall patterns.
The city suffers sweltering and soaring heat levels never witnessed before as all the trees on streets have also been cleared to pave way for a new city electrification project.
Environmentalists have now protested at the massive destruction of indigenous trees in the city and cutting down of the Mango trees along the River Nile.
They have also called on the Government to protect the River Nile from more destruction along its banks by private entrepreneurs.
Apparently all businesses and government operations in Juba rely on generator powered electricity supply. This means every organization has to own a generator to access power.
To beat the obvious factors that contribute to climate change, which include both air and noise pollution, some individuals have resorted to solar power.
This has seen some a major reduction of the usual noise from giant generators littering the city.
They argue that the solar energy is reliable and operation costs are low and affordable.