KAMPALA – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a leading global conservation organization, on Wednesday commended the government of Uganda for taking a strong action towards the reduction of plastic pollution by introducing a ban on single-use plastic bags in the country.
WWF-Uganda Country Director, David Duli at a press conference said the impacts of Kaveera at every corner of the country are “really heavy” and that its use has been reported to pollute the environment at an alarming rate.
“The impacts are evident, in the wetland, by the roadsides, in the drainage systems and all around. This is causing a lot of worries in terms of the impacts that relate to the environment. “
“This will be a big boost in the bid to protect the environment in Uganda,” he said noting that Plastic is a number one polluter of environment and a silent killer of our natural environment and living resources than most people understand.
“It takes more than a hundred years for a single plastic bag to decay, and that creates a huge problem,” he noted adding that WWF was committed to supporting the government in the fight against plastic pollution.
“We understand that the control of plastic pollution calls for all stakeholders’ participation in raising awareness and making sure that the ban is being effectively observed,” he said.
Duli was reacting to a directive by State Minister for Environment Beatrice Atim Anywar who 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 be effected.
The Minister’ directive targets plastic bags, cups, straws, coffee stirrers, soda, and water bottles, and most food packaging materials that pose a threat to the environment.
Mr. Duli said WWF will work with the government and partners to give expert advice whenever needed and conduct awareness-raising initiatives.
He said that the statistics about plastic pollution are as disturbing as its devastating impacts.
United Nations Environmental Programme Secretariat, estimates that plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally and goes on to warn that if present trends continue, by 2050, our oceans will have more plastic than fish.
If Uganda implements the single-use plastic bags ban, there will be a great reduction in the effects associated with their use and improper disposal and it could be a step towards more comprehensive policies aiming at reducing the generation of plastic waste and at replacing single-use plastics with more sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives.
“The government’s ban on the export of waste presents a unique opportunity to enhance and innovate our recycling sector,” said Ms. Rita Kyategeka Samanya the Manager of Communication, Policy, and Advocacy at WWF Uganda.
Uganda joins countries in Africa that have either banned or introduced a levy on plastic bags to control and eventually stop its use.