Plastic waste disposal is on the increase. It is estimated that 600 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in Uganda daily. Kampala city alone accounts for the vast chunk of plastic waste, which is littered all over the city and clogging sewage systems, according to the National Environment Management A
By Shallon Asiimire
Plastic waste disposal is on the increase. It is estimated that 600 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in Uganda daily. Kampala city alone accounts for the vast chunk of plastic waste, which is littered all over the city and clogging sewage systems, according to the National Environment Management Authority.
About 51% of the plastic garbage in the city is left uncollected and ends up in drainage channels, wetlands, natural water courses, manholes, undeveloped plots and on the roadside. In the rural areas, it is a sad story; plastic garbage in most cases left to decompose on its own.
It must be noted that plastic waste endangers human life, animals and the environment, if it is not well controlled and disposed of in a proper manner. Pollution from plastics is less visible and therefore our decision makers or policy makers do not see it as a priority yet it is a silent' killer.
The school of thought tells us that “pollution kills more people than malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined”. Yet, pollution often remains under the radar of policy makers who lack the will, ability and knowledge to legislate wisely on the dangers of pollution and how the effects must be prevented and mitigated.
The impacts of plastic waste are both direct and indirect and they include climatic change as the major impact on the environment, the biomass and fossil fuels that cause air pollution have also caused the earth’s atmosphere warming resulting from the release of greenhouse gasses, health impacts and damage of the wetland ecosystem.
Our current legal regime on pollution and waste management should be re-enforced to provide measures to protect and preserve the environment from abuse, pollution and degradation. A lot of emphasis is needed to manage the environment for sustainable development and to promote environmental awareness initiating programs aimed at stimulating a sound material cycle society that is based on the 3R approach of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Plastic waste is a real predator which slow killing and did you that plastic takes 450 year to decompose completely? Yet when you move around most homesteads are littered with plastics including water and soda bottles and other forms of plastic. The environmental regulatory authority (NEMA) should make faster strides towards implementing the ban on polythene bags which constitute a bigger portion of plastic waste.
A robust sensitization programe is needed to make the population aware of the dangers associated with plastic waste, for example lung cancer has been reported and it is associated with plastic pollution. Furthermore, Studies by Ugandan scientists suggest about 14 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 14 living in Kampala have bronchial asthma.
Owing to the gigantic environmental challenges we must all come together and fight this unseen killer before it takes over our natural desirable environment.
The writer works with Advocates for Natural Resources Governance and Development (ANARDE)
Plastic waste is chocking Kampala city