Uganda’s State Minister for Environment Beatrice Atim Anywar has asked the general public to take immediate action against plastic and kaveera pollution.
Anywar said in Kampala that the country should move to act very seriously even after the government put a ban against the use of polythene below 30 microns that hasn’t run smoothly.
“We should act very seriously as a country, Parliament already put a ban to use of plastic of 30 microns and below, it’s been a while since it was implemented but we’ve seen it’s not working for us.
“We have alternatives to plastic usage which people should embrace like the use of paper bags, banana leaves, degradable carrier bags but the bigger challenge is that we need to have the mindset of Ugandans if they can refrain from using kaveera and also effectively manage solid waste,” said Anywar during the Earth Hour March Against Plastic that took place in Kampala.
She said all East African Community member states have a total ban on kaveera usage but Uganda has remained as a dumping ground.
“We should prepare ourselves psychologically, physically and economically to do without kaveeras and do with alternative plastic.
“We look forward to giving a timeline to the public to use the kaveeras in the market and sensitizing them to use the existing plastic bags, empowering NEMA to put in place the ban which has been effected in Parliament.
“You find big shots in the government also throwing away plastics anyhow if you can’t re-use it. Reuse the plastic bottles you have. That way, we shall reduce the plastic waste that ends up in our environment,” said Anywar.
Every year, an estimated 40,000 metric tons of plastic enter Uganda’s wetlands. Plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade.
It is projected that by 2050, the total amount of plastic waste in Uganda’s wetlands will weigh more than all fish and other marine life.
In 2010, Parliament passed a law, banning kaveera below 30 microns but its enforcement has been lacking.
Rebecca Kadaga the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda who was the Chief Guest at the March, urged the young generation to mind about the environment they live in and protect it from plastic pollution.
“Today we’ve got our children who should grow up in a better society with and be able to assist us in implementing our laws, and grow up aware of the dangers of plastic, and ensure we have the right disposal methods and right items to use,” said Kadaga.
The earth hour walk brought together environmentalists who braved and walked 4kms from Kampala City Square to create awareness of the dangers of using plastic and kaveera.
The Country Director of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) David Duli said walking is a symbolic campaign to raise awareness to people.
“This year our campaign is about plastic which has a very negative impact on our environment. We use it every day but we need to regulate it. We will continue with this campaign starting from schools to create awareness to the young generation and encouraging the use of degradable plastics,” said Duli.
BY FRANK SEMATA