New law to curb pollution of Lake Victoria  

Research. Science professors conduct research on water pollution in Lake Victorian in October last year. Their findings indicated that the lake contained heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Sam Cheptoris, the Water and Environment minister, said this is meant to curb the pollution of Lake Victoria.

The Ministry of Water and Environment is drafting a law that will require manufacturers to collect waste generated by their companies from the environment.

In a telephone interview with the Monitor yesterday, Mr Sam Cheptoris, the Water and Environment minister, said this is meant to curb the pollution of Lake Victoria.

“It is true plastic waste is polluting Lake Victoria. Nema [National Environment Management Authority] is at the forefront of the issue of disposal of waste,” he said.

He added: “We are coming up with the Extended Production Responsibility Act where the manufacturer of a product that generates waste should be able to trace the whole cycle of waste that they produce and it is their responsibility to collect that waste from the environment.”

Mr Cheptoris said the level of pollution in Lake Victoria and other water bodies in the country has reached alarming levels which now calls for every Ugandan to dump waste responsibly.

He said this is why Nema came up with the plan to have all vehicle owners set up litter bins in their vehicles but the public made fun of the idea. 

Asked what the ministry is currently doing to bring errant companies which generate plastic waste and are not doing anything to collect it, the minister said disposal of waste is a complicated matter.

He said the ministry can only take action on waste which is being dumped into the environment in large quantities

 but cannot do anything for that which is being dumped in small quantities.

During the rainy season, many drainage channels in Kampala get clogged with poorly discarded plastic bottles and bags which are usually used to pack food, beverages, and other groceries. This often results in flooding in some parts of the city.


During the launch of the second edition of the Run for the Nile Marathon scheduled for March 23 at the Source of the Nile in Jinja last Friday, Mr David Nsubuga Sserwadda, the chairman of the organising committee, said the event was organised to generate funds to clean up plastic waste from Lake Victoria and River Nile.

He said they came up with the idea after a BBC documentary two years ago showed the level of pollution in the lake, which had led to the fishing community losing their livelihood.

He added that recent studies have discovered high concentrations of 19 pesticides in the lake which are killing fish and other aquatic life, while 12 tonnes of plastic waste is being dumped into the lake every year.

He said the run, which is organised in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kampala Central, has attracted participants from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan.

He said proceeds from the event will be used to construct four barricades in four major channels that drain water into Lake Victoria to trap all plastic waste entering the lake.

They will also establish a tree nursery bed where they will be distributing free tree seedlings.