The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, has called for the implementation of the National Environmental Act, 2017 (as amended) which provides for emerging environmental issues including climate change, the management of hazardous chemicals and biodiversity offsets plus management of plastics products.
Kadaga said that even if the Bill was passed into an act, no serious action has been taken towards the elimination of plastic bags from the market in spite of their negative implications on the environment.
“Polythene bags below 30 microns should not be anywhere on the market but they are smuggled in for sale,” she said.
Kadaga said this while flagging off the World Wide Fund for nature Earth Hour Movement 2020 walk at the Constitutional Square in Kampala on Febuary 13, 2020.
“Today we have got children who should grow up in a better society and should be able to assist us in implementing our laws. The plastics are of different types and are really dangerous to the environment, animals and sometimes people use them for cooking our food which can endanger our lives,” Kadaga said.
She added: “We shall not wait for studies to act. We must act now, as individuals, schools, churches, mosques, cities and government.”
The WWF ‘Earth Hour’ campaign against platics will last for a month and its essence is to create awareness to the public on how to regulate the use of kaveera’s and plastics to preserve the environment.
David Duli, the WWF Country Director, empathized that dumping of plastics should be regulated and people should adapt to reusable plastics that are already on the market.
“This year our campaign is about plastics. We want people to understand that without nature you cannot do anything. We are eating more than we can produce. We use plastics everyday but we need to regulate so we are going to move for one month in a bid to create awareness about the dangers of plastics.”
The State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Atim Anywar, stressed that Uganda should not be a dumping site.
“WWF has given us a chance to march against plastic usage in Uganda. As a country we are not displined on how we are using theses plastics. Kaveera’s use will be restricted. As a Ministry we look forward to empowering NEMA to put in place the ban we have already tested in parliament,” Anywar said.
She added: “You remember how they were pulling them down from supermarkets and the business people said it is a source of revenue?”
Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing issues globally.
In 2019 Countries like Kenya and in 2019 Rwanda passed an extensive law prohibiting the manufacturing of plastics and Kaveera in addition to 2008 law that banned imports of polythene bags.
Organizations like Plan International, Kampala City Council Authority, and Uganda Police Force, Students from Makerere, Kyambogo, Kampala international University and Bishop Cyprian Kihangire Secondary School also joined Kadaga in the march.