The European Union delegation to Uganda together with Jinja Municipal Council on Friday conducted a beach clean-up exercise on the shoreline of Lake Victoria at Masese landing site in Jinja district.
The activity was joined by over 230 volunteers, including Masese community representatives, members of EU member States and other diplomatic missions based in Kampala, civil society organisations and personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
According to the head of the European Union in Uganda, Ambassador Attillio Pacifici, marine litter is a global challenge that every year millions of tonnes of trash end up in oceans, lakes and rivers, hence the need to do something about the problem.
“We share a love for our blue planet, and we all hold responsibility for making and keeping it healthy – through avoiding single-use plastics as well as ensuring that our waste does not become someone else’s problem,” Pacifici said in Jinja.
“When we act together, we can bring about the change we all seek. The shores of Lake Victoria, particularly near fishing villages and landing sites, are littered with plastic. We know Jinja municipality has begun to sensitise communities about the dangers of plastic pollution, and we wanted to help them in their work.”
It is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea and according to the European Union head of delegation to Uganda, something needs to be done urgently to reverse the trend.
He, however, applauded Plastic Recycling Industries (PRI) for joining the initiative, reminding that plastic waste is a valuable resource that can be reused if recycled properly.
The Jinja mayor, Majid Batambuze applauded the EU for the initiative which he said has energized their efforts of keeping the lake clean.
“Plastic pollution in our lakes is a matter that affects all of us, no matter how young or old. We pledge to continue contributing to keeping our lake cleaner and healthier,” Batambuze said.
The #EUBeachCleanup campaign is held worldwide as part of activities to mark the International Coastal Clean-up Day.
In 2018, over 70 actions and nearly 3,000 people participated to the campaign globally.
Last year in Uganda, the EU Delegation cleaned up Kigungu landing site in Entebbe.
The European Union is leading the global fight against marine litter and has recently agreed legislation to curb single-use plastics, especially those items that are most commonly found at the beach.
In addition, the legislation focuses on lost fishing gear, which accounts to some 27% of all beach litter. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
SDG-14 set objectives for sustainable use and conservation of the ocean.