The National Environment Management Authorityâ€™s (NEMA) plan to start exposing notorious polluters in the media ought to be applauded by all Ugandans.
All the necessary support should be given to NEMA because it is ordinary citizens who stand to benefit from this initiative.
According to the story, â€œNEMA to list polluting firmsâ€ The New Vision, January 12, NEMAâ€™s executive director, Dr Aryamanya Mugisha said polluting factories will be listed in the media every four months and this list will comprise industries also deemed to be improving their compliance levels.
It is good to note that besides NEMAâ€™s monitoring and compliance departmentâ€™s plan to work on modalities for exposing polluters, it is also planning to involve the public.
Mugisha says the initiative will put pressure on industries to reduce the release of effluent and other dangerous chemicals often released into the atmosphere.
This is a good initiative because once the pollutersâ€™ revenue is significantly affected; they will be forced to comply with NEMAâ€™s non-pollution guidelines.
It is ordinary Ugandans who bear the brunt of pollution in terms of exorbitant medical and water bills. Over the last couple of years, National Water and Sewerage Corporation has been complaining about an increase in water treatment costs at Ggaba Water Works due to increase in effluent discharge into Lake Victoria. Consequently, Ugandans have been forced to pay more for water, not mentioning the intermittent water supplies. This can not go on any more.
NEMAâ€™s new style of publicly exposing and thereby shaming notorious polluters will, perhaps, go a long way in giving some respite to the countryâ€™s dwindling natural resources such as Nakivubo wetland and the ever important Lake Victoria. No industrialist or investor in this day would fail to comply once exposed for being a notorious polluter.
NEMA should not stop there, but go further and establish a hotline where the public can reach it for tip offs. Should NEMA succeed in implementing this initiative, we will see dividends in the near future.
The writer is a journalist with EnviroConserve AFRCA magazine
NEMAâ€™s regular exposure of polluters good