Parliament has passed the National Environment Bill, 2017 banning polythene bags below 30 microns following a recommendation from the Committee on Natural Resources.
Committee Chair, Hon Keefa Kiwanuka said the decision to ban the polythene bags below 30 microns was agreed upon by stakeholders in the environment sector.
“We robustly interviewed a wide range of stakeholders including the Prime Minister, National Environment Management Authority, Uganda Manufacturers Association, environmental activists and all those involved in the trade of plastics,” he said.
Kiwanuka said that the committee observed that there is increasing proliferation of plastic and plastic waste, and that whereas plastic is a threat to the environment, the country cannot do without plastics in a short time.
“The Committee further observed that laws should not be passed in vain and whatever is passed should be in line with living experiences,” said Keefa Kiwanuka.
The recommendation by the Committee was initially challenged by the State Minister of Environment, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu Kimono, who asked Parliament to give the Ministry powers to regulate the ban on plastics. However, she later conceded to the recommendation of the Committee.
The Committee also recommended that the Minister requires the approval of Parliament to amend schedule 11 under the Bill which deals with plastics and plastic products.
The bill, which will now be forwarded to the President for assent, prescribes penalties for noise pollution and for persons or organisations that litter the environment. It also contains clauses on disposal of industrial waste and the penalties for the offenders among other provisions.
The National Environment Bill, 2017 seeks to repeal the National Environment Act Cap.153 and replace it with a law that conforms to existing Government policies and other relevant laws.