State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, has vowed to revive the fight against polythene bags (Kaveera), but this time targeting a total ban.
“We have to give a timeline to use the kaveera that is in the market. As a country, we are not disciplined in using kaveera. You find even big shots in government just throwing away kaveera. We look forward to empowering NEMA [National Environment Management Authority] to enforce the laws against plastic bags.
Ms Anywar also lashed out at the business community, accusing them of sabotaging the whole programme and taking advantage of the situation (weakness of the law and implementation challenges) claiming it is a source of livelihood.
She was speaking Thursday at an event to launch the campaign against plastic pollution at City Square in Kampala. The campaign is spearheaded by the World Wide Fund (WWF) –Uganda, a global environmental conservation organization, Kampala Capital City (KCCA) and Ministry of Water and Environment.
Way back in 2009, the government announced a ban on kaveera below 30 microns. The 2010 Statute on Kaveera ban prohibits a person to manufacture, import, sale, use, distribute or otherwise deal in plastic bags except for plastic woven bags for the packaging and conveyance of goods and plastics and other exceptional uses specified in the schedule.’
However, the implementation of the ban faced challenges after several groups, especially the manufacturers, lobbied for a grace period to empty their stores of the polythene and subsequently many companies continued circumventing the ban.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who flagged off the campaign noted that there is a need to first deal with those banned polythene bags that are not biodegradable, especially by deterring them from entering the country.
“There is where they [polythene bags] come from and many people can’t differentiate those that were banned from those that were not. So those responsible have to sensitise the public on which bags are legal and not,” Ms Kadaga said.
To date, the environment in Uganda is still littered with kaveera as a number of wholesale shops, supermarkets, retail shops, markets, and vendors, among others continue to pack items for their clients in kaveera which constitute a great danger to our environment such as clogging drainage channels.