KAMPALA – As a measure to enforce government ban on polythene bags, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has closed factories whose produce is below 30 microns contrary to UNBS ACT CAP 327 and clause 4.6 of US 773:2007.
These include Jesco Plastics Limited, Teefe plastics in Kawempe – Tula, Moon plastics limited along Bombo road in Kawempe and Earth Quec Enterprises Limited.
According to the UNBS, the employees of these companies were also found with no proper protective gear.
The manufacturers were given a grace period of three months ending May 2019 to comply with the set standards.
To further ensure compliance, UNBS has engaged polythene bag manufacturers to discuss the challenges they face and how UNBS can help them comply with the set standards.
One of the challenges was raised in regard to manufacturing polythene bags for export to neighbouring countries whose specifications are below 30 microns, yet the standard in Uganda does not allow manufacturing, importing or distributing polythene bags below 30 microns.
In response to this, polythene bags producing factories below 30 microns, the Principal Surveillance Officer at UNBS said that an exporter should have clear documentation and they are much safer if they have permission from UNBS to produce anything less than the required.
Other challenges included the many certificates to be applied for during certification and how to handle some products that do not require polythene bags above 30 microns.
To this, Ronald Ahimbisibwe, the Principal Certification Officer at UNBS told the manufacturers that the regulation requires certification per product per brand and that schedule 9 of the National Environment Act 2019 caters for the products exempted from using polythene bags above 30 microns.
Some of the exemptions include polythene for packaging napkins, sanitary pads, baby diapers, wipes, facial tissues, pocket tissues, ESST kitchen towels, C-Fold towels, toilet papers, candy sweets, biscuits, pasta, sugar, salt, rice, candles, soap, detergents and any other food or cosmetic product requiring moisture barrier properties.
Various other challenges raised by the manufacturers were responded to by Uganda National Bureau of Standards officials.
The two parties resolved;
- To have quarterly meetings to measure the manufacturers’ performance and compliance with the standards
- To have an administrative directive or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which attracts a penalty in case the parties do not comply
- That polythene bag manufacturers ensure compliance with the standards during their operations
- That polythene bag manufacturers engage their major clients who demand for polythene bags that are less than 30 microns and ensure they comply with the set standards.