Climate change, environmental sustainability, and global warming are some of the most pressing issues facing our world today. The rise of carbon emissions in the atmosphere has led to the creation of a blanket effect over the globe, resulting in increased levels of terrestrial radiation that have had a significant impact on natural phenomena. The fact is that human activities are directly responsible for global warming. Industrialization has resulted in pollution and the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere, which have unintentionally caused environmental degradation. Unfortunately, regardless of the source of contamination, the entire planet is affected, and the East Africa region has been particularly hard hit. Climate conflicts and climate refugees have become increasingly common in East Africa due to pollution-related difficulties. In recent years, Uganda has been hit hard by extreme weather events that have had catastrophic effects on lives and livelihoods. Uganda has experienced an increase in inundation and landslides, leading to devastating consequences such as the landslide that claimed the lives of at least fifteen people in September 2022. These events have had a significant impact on the environment, with soil erosion and deforestation becoming more prevalent. The region as well has already experienced a warming of 1.3 degrees Celsius, and the effects of climate change are expected to exacerbate both droughts and extreme precipitation.
The nations of East Africa are already susceptible to climate extremes and unpredictability, such as droughts and floods, which have had severe economic and social consequences in some instances. According to climate models, the situation is set to worsen. The region is likely to experience higher temperatures, more frequent and severe extreme events, and decreased precipitation, both in the short term and long term. These changes will significantly impact crucial development areas, driving up the costs of extant climate variability and extremes, and making vulnerable communities even more susceptible to environmental shocks. In response to this challenge, national governments have initiated activities to establish adaptation priorities. However, implementing these priorities and incorporating climate considerations into sectoral and development strategies and plans will require a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of climate change, vulnerabilities, and adaptation options. At the regional level, research initiatives are underway to enhance the capacity to produce, transmit, and utilize climate data and information. These efforts will play a crucial role in informing policy decisions and ensuring that the region is better equipped to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. As the world looks to address the climate crisis, the nations of East Africa are already taking proactive steps to build resilience and safeguard the well-being and livelihoods of their communities. With continued research and investment in climate adaptation strategies, there is hope that the region can continue to thrive in the face of environmental challenges.
A change in the land’s characteristics will have an effect on the amount of food produced, as crops such as maize require precise temperatures to survive. Kenya(33.3 percent), Tanzania (25.7 percent), and Uganda depend on maize as their primary source of caloric (9.3 percent). A projected decrease in the number of reliable crop-growing days across East Africa may also reduce the productivity of rain-fed agriculture in these nations. As climate models predict a decrease in the number of reliable crop-growing days across the region, the productivity of rain-fed agriculture is also expected to decline. This, combined with the anticipated increase in frequency and intensity of droughts, could spell disaster for the region’s food supply. The effects of such changes would not only impact food production but could also lead to income loss, affecting both subsistence and rain-fed agriculture. As a result, access to food could become increasingly challenging, with those already living in poverty and without access to sufficient resources likely to be hit the hardest. What happens to nations that are incapable of producing their own food? What happens to nations that cannot sustain their citizens? The implications of such a scenario are dire. Without the means to produce their own food, nations will struggle to sustain their citizens, and the consequences could be catastrophic. It is therefore essential that steps are taken to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure that vulnerable communities have the resources they need to adapt to the changing environment.
As the climate changes, the water resources of East Africa are under threat, putting millions of people at risk. Rivers and lakes are the primary sources of water for the region, and any disruption to these resources could have devastating consequences. Increased precipitation due to climate change in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania may exacerbate the effects of erosion, siltation, and sedimentation, making these regions extremely susceptible to inundation and flooding. On the other hand, more frequent and prolonged droughts are likely to have a significant impact on the availability and quality of water in the region. Higher temperatures and increased variability in precipitation are predicted to disrupt the hydraulic cycle, leading to lower river flows and the drying up of critical water sources such as Lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, and Turkana. Climate change is likely to have an impact on East Africa’s water resources due to the higher temperatures and increased variability of precipitation that are predicted. Higher temperatures accompanied by protracted droughts and elevated rates of evapotranspiration, or the rate at which water vapor evaporates from the surface of the earth, have caused disruptions in the hydraulic cycle, low river flows, and the drying up of terrestrial water sources such as Lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, and Turkana. These effects suggest a potential for future water scarcity in East Africa.
Climate variability in East Africa has a significant impact on the region’s health. Malaria, one of the greatest hazards to human health in the area, is imposing a heavy burden on households and nations. In Kenya, malaria alone accounts for 50 percent of household health expenditures, while in Tanzania, it is the leading cause of mortality, responsible for 16 percent of reported deaths. The rising temperatures associated with climate change are likely to increase the incidence of parasitic diseases, particularly those associated with mild climates. As a result, the health impacts of climate change in the region are expected to worsen in the coming years.
Despite global efforts, such as COP 27, to address climate change, it remains unclear whether these efforts have significantly improved the health of people in East Africa. The primary objective of these global gatherings is to assess whether nations have met the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Parties are mandated by the Paris Agreement to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)outlining their 5-year plan to achieve the objectives. The Paris Agreement of 2015 provides a framework for countries in need of financial, technical, and capacity-building assistance. In conclusion, climate change is having a significant impact on the health of people in East Africa, particularly through its effects on the incidence of malaria and other parasitic diseases. While global efforts are underway to address climate change, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will be sufficient to protect the health and well-being of people in the region.
As we have seen, environmental sustainability in East Africa is crucial for the region’s social, economic, and health well-being. The impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and rising temperatures, pose significant challenges for the region, particularly for those who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. While global efforts are underway to address climate change, it is essential that we all play our part in promoting sustainability in our communities and in supporting the efforts of policymakers to address this pressing issue. By working together, we can ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the people of East Africa and for our planet as a whole.