Cabinet has reinstated the ban on manufacturing, use, and importation of polythene bags, commonly known as ‘kaveera.’
State Minister for Environment Beatrice Anywar told the press at the Uganda Media Center on Tuesday that the new directive will take effect immediately.
“The production, importation, and the use of polythene bags in this country called Uganda is banned,” Anywar said.
Anywar said that this is one of the cabinet resolutions that are intended to safeguard the integrity of the environment.
This is the second time that government bans the use and importation of polythene bags. In July 2009, the government with the approval of parliament imposed a total ban on plastic bags “for the conveyance of goods and liquid in order to protect our environment”.
The importation and use of all polythene bags below 30 microns had now become illegal and its use was to be phased out.
The government also imposed an excise duty of 120 percent was on other plastic materials and a moratorium of six months was given to the general public as a transition period during which persons will make arrangements to find alternative packing materials that are environmentally friendly.
The government argued then that the polythene bags were blocking drainage systems as well as degrading the soil. It then announced the ban and prohibited the importation, local manufacture, sale, or use of polyethylene and bags. However, several years later, the ban failed to be effected.
In 2015 once again, NEMA, in abid to execute its mandate, banned the use, sell, manufacture, and importation of the said Kavera.
However, the implementation of the ban stalled, forcing the government to temporarily lift it citing controversy in the implementation of the ban.
The government then instituted an inter-ministerial committee to study the issue.
Addressing journalists, Anywar said that the government is going to be very strict on implementation and warned the public to find alternatives.
“We are enforcing the ban and we are going for a total ban this time,” Anywar warned.
The ban on polythene ties in perfectly with the Next Media Services’ “Taasa Obutonde” campaign in partnership with NEMA and other partners.
Pamela Adong, the campaign manager told NBS TV in an interview that the government’s ban is welcome and it will help their campaign to reach its target faster and more efficiently.
Other cabinet resolutions on the environment
Cabinet also directed eviction of all encroachers on wetlands, government forest reserves, lakeshores, and riverbanks.
Anywar said that the encroachers on rural wetlands will be mobilized and reorganized to engage in alternative sustainable wetland utilization models.