While reading the 2009/10 national budget, the then Finance Minister Syda Bbumba slapped a ban on polythene bags of less than 30 microns that were mostly being used for packaging and transporting goods. The minister also announced a 120 per cent tax plastic materials.
Thanks to poor sensitisation and implementation by the government, here we are 10 years later and wherever one casts an eye, polythene bags popularly known as ‘kaveera’ are a common sight.
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) last year moved the implement the ban on kaveera but their efforts hit a snag after stakeholders petitioned the president to halt the implementation.
NEMA has since been locked in a series of boardroom negotiations with stakeholders such as Uganda Plastic Manufacturers and Recyclers Association, the ministries of Trade, Agriculture and Environment to find an amicable yet applicable solution to the impasse.
But with the effects of climate change getting severe, President Yoweri Museveni’s patience seems to have also worn out. In a speech read for him by the Water and Environment Minister, Sam Cheptoris, the president has, yet again, ordered a ban on the manufacture and use of kaveera.
The president noted that the continued manufacture, use and poor disposal practices of plastics add to the accumulation of the hazardous materials in compartment of the environment.
The ban announced during the World Environment Day celebrations in Mbale on June 5 will affect at least 45 plastic manufacturing companies in Uganda
Rwanda in massive tree planting
Relatedly, Rwanda has launched a campaign in which the country will have an additional 30 million trees planted to save the country’s ecosystem. The exercise that will be carried out in the monthly Umuganda community drives will cover 66,ooo hectares, 2.5 per cent of the country’s surface area according to Rwanda’s Natural Resource Authority (RNRA).
This year’s World Environment Day was held under the theme; “Beat plastic pollution. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.”