By Francis Kagolo
Three Ugandan companies have scooped regional awards for implementing environmentally sound production techniques that have reduced pollution on Lake Victoria.
The awards are organised by the cleaner production centres of the five East African Community (EAC) member countries under the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) project.
According to Silver Ssebaggala, the Uganda Cleaner Production Centre (UCPC) director, the RECP plan is part of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP II) funded by the World Bank.
The waste water treatment plant built at Crown Beverages to reduce pollution. PHOTO/Francis Kagolo
Crown Beverages, Sadolin Paints and the Jinja-based Leather Industries of Uganda (LIU) emerged among the top manufacturers in the region that have performed well in reducing their contribution to environmental pollution.
A total of 35 companies within the region participated in the competition, with majority of them coming from Kenya.
The winners received their awards at a dinner gala held the Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe Thursday.
At the ceremony, the permanent secretary ministry of water and environment, Obong Okello, commended New Vision for spearheading the campaign to save Lake Victoria.
“Cleaner production aims at reducing waste generation, improve workplace environment and reduce emissions and dangerous discharges to the environment to curb pollution, save the environment and achieve sustainable development,” Ssebaggala said.
Under the scheme, companies ought to put in place measures to reduce wastage of resources like water and energy, and reduce pollution at source as opposed to the reactive approach of end-of-pipe technologies.
Crown Beverages, the Ugandan bottlers of soda products under the Pepsi franchise, emerged the first runners-up overall in the region for efficient use of water and energy resources.
The company spent $18,495 (about sh47.2m) to acquire a 114,000-litre tank in 2011 to start harvesting rain water.
Uganda Cleaner Production Centre (UCPC) officials inspecting the rain water harvesting tank which Crown Beverages installed to reduce water wastage. PHOTO/Francis Kagolo
As a result, the company’s environmental officer, Joseph Tomanyane, says they have reduced their annual tap water consumption by 4,433,000 litres, saving over $5,400 (about sh13.7m) annually.
On the other hand, LIU was awarded for proper management of waste water.
Until recently, the company would discharge waste water polluted with chrome, a heavy metal, into the environment, polluting Lake Victoria which is near the factory.
However in 2010 the company invested $50,000 (about sh125m) to install a chrome recycling plant.
The recycling plant treats the waste water and discharges the chrome into a regeneration tank from where it is pumped back into the factory for reuse.
As a result, the waste water discharged from the factory is now almost free of chrome and the company has saved over 40% on chrome costs, according to operations manager Nelson Agaba.
Jimmy Mukalazi, the Quality control officer at Sadolin, shows the translucent roofing sheets the company put in place to reduce on energy wastage. PHOTO/Francis Kagolo
LIU also installed a machine that filters solid residues from the waste water. The solid residues are later dried and incinerated which has reduced on the stench.
Likewise, Sadolin was awarded for effective management of solid waste. Sadolin’s Quality control officer Jimmy Mukalazi said the company decided to join the RECP programme after receiving complaints over pollution. They stopped pouring wastewater into trenches and embarked on recycling and re-using it to manufacture gloss paint.
This has also reduced water and soil pollutions, according to Ssebaggala, who was one of the judges.
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Ugandan companies scoop regional anti-pollution awards