Ugandan gov’t insists on polythene bag ban

NEMA Boss Dr Tom Okurut displays paper bags used for shopping

NEMA Boss Dr Tom Okurut displays paper bags used for shopping

The Ugandan environmental watchdog, National Management Environment Authority (NEMA)] insists that it will not rescind backtrack decision to ban the use, distribution, and production of polythene bags.

According to Tom Okurut, the Executive Director of the National Environmental Management Authority, polythene bag manufacturers are spreading false information to members of the public that the ban has been lifted to “kill the initiative that is ongoing.”

“They [manufacturers] have placed adverts in both print and broadcast media indicating that the ban has been lifted after consultations with Nema; it is not the case,” Okurut said.

“They have started to distribute buveera (polythene bags) to Kikuubo (downtown),all these efforts are detrimental to the health, social and economic wellbeing of the country and we call upon you to support the ban and reject tpolythene bags.” he said

Recently, NEMA moved to implement the ban on the distribution and use of the polythene plastic bags around the central business district of the Ugandan capital Kampala. So far, about seven tonnes of plastic polythene bags have been confiscated since the operation kicked off on April 15.

Piles of banned Polythene Bags impounded in a Uganda store

Piles of banned Polythene Bags impounded in a Uganda store

However, the implementation of the ban has drawn harsh talk from members of the cabinet and manufacturers towards National Environmental Management Authority , with the ministry of Trade more concerned about the jobs and money that could be lost if factories folded.

According to a public notice that is alleged to have been written by Uganda Manufacturers Association and Uganda Plastics Manufacturers and Recyclers Association, the ongoing consultations on the ban had led to the lifting of the ban. The posters have been disseminated to different market areas. However, Okurut says that is a bunch of lies.