Thursday, 18 May 2017 04:31

BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS A TOTAL FAILURE.

The Uganda government's ambitious move to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags has become a complete failure.
 
 
The Uganda government's ambitious move to impose a nationwide ban on plastic bags has become a complete failure two years after a formal announcement was made to this effect.
 
The government had announced a nationwide ban on polythene bags, commonly known as kaveera, from April 2015.
 
The National Environment and Management Authority -NEMA, which is responsible for implementing the ban, says people have been ignoring the ban due to lack of mechanism to punish ban violators.
 
While the environment regulator targeted mainly carrier bags of less than 30 microns, other than merely announcing the ban, no other move has been taken to ensure its implementation.
 
Dr. Tom Okurut, the NEMA Executive Director, reveals that there's been serious opposition mainly from the Uganda Plastic Manufacturers and Recyclers Association (UMPRA) who argued that the ban had been rushed without consultations.
  
Although Dr. Okurut insists that the ban still holds, neither have the general public stopped using plastic bags, nor have the plastic bag industries stopped manufacturing them.

  
Dr. Okurut says that NEMA has continued to demand that all the polythene bags that will be recycled should not be brought back in form of polythene but rather be used to manufacture high level plastics such as basins. He notes that government officials are still debating on how to completely ban the importation of the raw materials.
 
In October 2012, High Court Judge Eldad Mwangusya ruled that the manufacture, distribution, use, sale, sell disposal of plastic bags, plastic containers, plastic food wrappers, and all other forms of plastic commonly referred to as 'kaveera' violates the rights of citizens of Uganda to a clean and healthy environment.
 
This was the climax of the case in which Greenwatch, a Non-Government Organisation had sued the Attorney General and NEMA seeking orders declaring that the manufacture, distribution, use, disposal of kaveera violates the rights of citizens of Uganda to a clean and healthy environment.
  
Greenwatch further wanted court orders banning the manufacture and use of plastic containers of less than 100 microns and directing the two respondents to issue regulations for the proper use and disposal of all other plastics whose thickness is more than 100 microns
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