PIC: KACITA spokesperson Issa Sekitto (right) addressing participants during the breakfast dialogue in Kampala recently. (Credit: Julius Luwemba)
BAN | ACTION
KAMPALA - Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under an umbrella Climate Action Network-Uganda (CAN-U) have called for total ban on the manufacture of plastic materials, especially polythene bags.
The CSOs have drafted proposals calling for the ban on use, trade, manufacture, import and export of polythene bags in Uganda.
The CSOs including, Caritas, act-alliance, HyCrystal, World Vision, Go green, Uganda Forestry Association among others, agreed on suggestions they deemed fit to be included in the NEMA Act amendment Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
This was during a National Stakeholders' breakfast dialogue on the National Environment Bill, held at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala this week.
"We take cognizance of the fact that while environmental legislation is wide and expensive, covering numerous aspects of the environment, there is need for a more robust legal regime and enforcement mechanisms," the Civil Society Organisations representatives under the coordination of CAN-U said.
However, other stakeholders, mainly from the business community, were opposed to the total ban of plastics. They said emphasis should be put on the sensitisation of the public and recycling the plastic waste material.
"According to statistics, our life span has increased from 49 years to 62 years. Don't you think this is due to the fact that people now days consume clean food well packed in plastics," one of the participants said.
Similarly, some legislators who attended the dialogue concurred with members of the business community, adding that most Ugandans are currently employed by companies directly and indirectly dealing in plastics.
"Emphasis should be put on how best we can recycle those plastics but not the total ban of the same. This is because it may be very hard to totally do away with plastics and polythene bags since they are used to package a lot of commodities for marketing," MP Sarah Nakawunde Temulanda said.
She was backed by Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga of Mukono North who likewise, proposed putting emphasis on recycling than a total ban.
Since 2014, Uganda has been grappling, without success, with the enforcement of the provision of the Finance Act 2009 which banned the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of plastic bags.
As parliament reviews the National Environment Act, there are conflicting views on provisions of the Bill on plastics, with some agitating for total ban and others for a stay with improved mechanism for managing the potentially negative impact on the environment.
The Bill seeking to review the Act is currently before the committee of Parliament on Natural Resources, with an objective of repealing and replacing the current law, which has been in place since 1996 to make it conform to existing government policies.