By Shamim Saad and Gerald Tenywa
Students under the banner of ‘Eco-pupils Parliament Under Eco-schools Program’ have petitioned the Parliament of Uganda over poor waste management.
Speaking earlier this week at Tropical Primary School in Najeera during the launch of the “National Litter Less Campaign”, the students stated that there is no clear policy on waste management in Uganda.
“We believe there is no clear policy on waste management,” said Brenda NdagireNyakato, the Speaker of the Eco-pupils Parliament.
She stated that widespread littering of waste, like plastic bags, endangers the soil and the environment – drainage systemsand water bodies such as lakes.
“We urge Parliament to enact laws on proper waste management,” stated Nyakato who was reading out a one-page petition to students from various schools in Kampala and western Uganda.
“We will not sit back and watch as our environment is destroyed.”
She handed a copy of the petition to Patrick Sempala, senior education officer in the Ministry of Education who presided over the ceremony as chief guest.
The students also pointed out that Government should promote a student-centered system of education where the students are taught theory with an emphasis on practical learning.
They also castigated parents who do not listen to students. “When we tell or advise parents they think we are not respecting them,” said the Speaker.
In his speech, Sempalasaid a curriculum with the student-centered approach would be rolled out to help teachers produce innovative and knowledgeable students.
“There should be simple research done by students after studies in order to dig deep into the issue, for example, if taught about soil erosion, children should go to the field to find out what happens practically,” he explained.
‘Litter Less’, an environment-critical campaign, is being implemented across 25 schools in western Uganda and Kampala with support from Wrigley Foundation.
Wrigley produces chewing gum and fruit juice, which produce waste if the wrappers are not well disposed of and creating awareness is part of its corporate social responsibility.
“We want students to grow while knowing disposal of waste is not good; that is why this programme was piloted in Uganda,” says Isingoma Robert, the Country director of Conservation Efforts for Community Development (CECOD).
CECOD, which is championing education for sustainable development started the Eco- Pupils Parliamentprogramme to increase the competence of children and develop good citizens.