How irresponsible littering of plastic bottles, polythene bags affects urban farming

Irresponsible littering of plastic bottles and polythene bags that end up buried beneath the ground is harming the soil and threatening the livelihood of urban farmers, according to scientists.

Plastic pollution is currently one of the biggest environmental concerns due to the rise of single-use plastics and the toxic pollutants that damage the environment and cause land, water, and water pollution.

Some farmers who talked to Nile Post expressed concern that the plastic bags make the soil less fertile ultimately affecting the yield.

This has made farming a less reliable source of livelihood.

Ronald Sserunkuma, a resident of Namumira, Wantone 1, Ntenjeru village, Mukono Central division who is an urban farmer said that these days, it’s hard to till land without finding plastics buried in the soil, something which has made urban farming difficult.

Sserunkuma, whom we found was sorting plastic wastes composed of polythene bags, singles use bottles and medical wastes from his garden, was bothered by irresponsible disposal of wastes calling upon the authorities to take serious action to end such bad practices.

"When polythene waste is in the soil, plant roots can’t penetrate through it, hence affecting yields. Plastic bags are the most common type of packaging here and littering is also common. People bury plastic bags in the soil after use, and it’s taking a toll on the fertility of the land," he explained.

Eunice Nyako, another farmer in Mukono, expressed her concern towards the increasing poor disposal of plastics in the district noting that she spends hours with a machete trying to unearth plastic bags that have become intertwined with the soil.

"Plastic bags are a threat to our soil. The impact of the waste on small-scale farmers can be devastating," she said.

Mukono municipality population is estimated to be 100,000 and each household generates 0.6 kilograms of garbage daily, according to the officials.

Unrestrained dumping and poor management of waste contribute to environment pollution, the spread of disease and land degradation can affect the production levels of farmers.

Farmers in the district accuse the district officials of not doing enough to sensitise the masses on proper waste disposal of plastics.

In Mukono Municipality, efforts are on to teach the population on better waste disposal, according to Joseph Mutalya, the senior environmental officer, Mukono district.

"We will preach the message through different councils. We have what we call the local environmental  resource committees," he said, adding that the committees are now negotiating waste collection partnerships with the residents to address the challenges.

He said that they are still in the initial stages of doing consultations with different stakeholders to try to find a way on how they can build a partnership with the public.

 

 

 

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