According to health experts, polyethylene materials have been found to contain carcinogens, a substance capable of causing cancer. But despite the dangers, many Ugandans still use polyethylene material for packaging and steaming food.
Members of the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament have faulted the National Environmental Management Authority NEMA over its failure to implement the ban on polythene bags, also known as Kaveera.
This follows a directive banning the use, sale and distribution of polythene material below 30 microns. NEMA led an operation to confiscate polythene material and bags from traders who had initially defied the ban. The operation targeted industries, supermarkets, shopping malls and street traders across the country.
Plastic carrier bags are still in circulation despite a government ban on their importation and usage more than two months ago. A Uganda Radio Network reporter visited several places in and around Kampala where the kaveera was widely in use in supermarkets and retail shops.
The statement that caused national uproar was issued by Information Minister Jim Muhwezi in Kampala on account that cabinet was still reviewing the proposal for the elimination of Polyethylene materials below 30 microns.
Richard Luku, a businessman in Gulu town says the shop owners and retail dealers are making more money compared to big supermarkets because they still package their customers merchandise in polythene bags.
Parliament\'s committee on Natural Resources has thrown out the Minister of Water and Environment, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and officials from National Environment Management Authority over failure by government to implement a total ban on polythene bags, commonly known as kaveera. During the 2009/2010 budget, government announced the ban on the bags in response to growing environmental concerns and even a six-month\'s request to implement the policy by then Environment minister, Maria Mutagamba did not yield much.
Members of Parliament on the Natural Resources Committee are asking Maria Mutagamba, the water and environment minister, to explain why she has failed to implement a total ban on the use of polythene bags commonly referred to as Kaveera.