Sam Cheptoris, the Minister of Water and Environment said the ban has become complicated for the Ministry to implement despite the existing legal frameworks such as the National Environment Bill, 2017, thus requiring renewed debate in the House.
Ministry of Water and Environment has asked parliament to revisit the debate
on the need to criminalize the importation, local manufacture and use of plastic carrier bags
in the country.
The ban on the use of
polythene material below 30 microns was first announced in 2019 as one of the measures to mitigate its
effects on the environment. Such effects include clogging of water channels, impeding water
filtration and percolation into the soil, production of dangerous chemical products
when used to wrap or cover food and the release of cancerous
fumes in the air when burnt.
Cheptoris, the Minister of Water and Environment said the
ban has become complicated for the Ministry to implement despite the existing legal frameworks such as the
National Environment Bill, 2017, thus requiring
renewed debate in the House. He says that the government is mooting a new proposal for a total ban on polythene bags and have them
replaced with other environment-friendly materials
//Cue in; “We had proposed that…
Cue out…have to reconsider.”//
The minister's call followed concerns by Terego District Woman Representative Rose
Obiga that areas around the refugee hosting districts are worryingly littered
with polythene material, arguing that the situation spells environmental
ruins for the country if it is not immediately reversed.
Odoi, the West Budama East North MP equally observed that polythene bags are endangering human,
livestock and aquatic life and asked parliament to decisively take on the matter in the wake of floods that devastated parts of Eastern Uganda claiming close to 30 lives in Bugisu region.
Cheptoris blames flooding on human activities like tampering with
the environment through construction in wetlands. He says that many developers have constructed buildings in waterways and put concrete in
swamps causing a change in the environment and leading to floods and
National Environment Act, 2019 mandates the National Environment
Management Authority– NEMA to monitor, regulate, supervise and
coordinate all activities relating
to the environment while the Uganda National Bureau of Standards is
mandated to enforce product standards in
the protection of public health and safety.
NEMA has over the years undertaken inspections and inventory of 47
factories in Kampala, Jinja, Wakiso and Mukono Districts that are manufacturing
plastic carrier bags. Although 21 of the factories were suspended from
production after they were found to be non-compliant, the production and use
of the polythene continue unregulated.
the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has also raised a red flag rebuking the government for interfering with the legitimate
functions of NEMA and against the wish of the majority of Ugandans to ban the disastrous polyethene material.
NAPE’s Executive Director, Frank Muramuzi
urged the government to heed the environmentalists’ recommendations to ban the material without heeding the intimidation by the business community and cease
interfering with the technical work and mandate of NEMA.
environmentalists also rallied the business community to work towards
putting in place industries that are environmentally friendly, and urged the public
to desist from buying and using the Kaveras or else the country risks more
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.