KAMPALA – State Minister for Environment Beatrice Atim Anywar has ordered that Section 2 of the 2009 Finance Act that prohibits the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of plastic bags or bags of polymers of ethene and polyethene should be effected.
Speaking to journalists at her office in Luzira, said the ban is taking immediate effect-directing implementing agencies including National Environment Management Authority among others to take responsibility.
Directive targets plastic bags, cups, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, and water bottles, and most food packaging materials that pose a threat to the environment.
The continued manufacture of banned products must stop,” the minister said.
Section 2 of the 2009 Finance Act prohibits the “importation, local manufacture, sale or use of plastic bags” as well as the “importation, local manufacture, sale or use of sacks and bags of polymers of ethene and polyethene with effect from March 31, 2010”.
The legislation followed a pronouncement in the 2009/10 budget by the then Finance Minister, Ms. Syda Bbumba, banning the manufacture, importation, and sale of polythene bags of less than 30 microns used “for the conveyance of goods and liquid in order to protect our environment”.
Implementation of the ban by NEMA however, hit a snag following an inter-ministerial disagreement on the back of intense lobbying by plastics manufacturers
Minister Anywar said the lag was caused by intensive lobbying by plastic bags manufacturers and lack of Government commitment to save the environment from plastic pollution.
The ban on plastics and Kaveera comes only two weeks after thousands of people, including primary school children, university students and members of the public lobbied Parliament and government for urgent action to tackle the plastic pollution and critical loss of nature.
The march on streets of Kampala was led by World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), highlighting growing environmental concerns in the Uganda and increasing warnings of the need for unprecedented action to tackle the menace.
David Duli, the Country Manager, urge that since natural processes cannot degrade plastics in the environment, the continued manufacture, use and poor disposal practices of plastics adds to the accumulation of the hazardous materials in compartment of the environment.
He says Kaveera destroys soil productivity by blocking the flow of useful nutrients and releasing toxic chemicals into the soils and that that they also clog drainage channels.