Government of Uganda with approval of parliament, some time back in 2009 banned the importation, manufacture and use of polythene bag, popularly known as kavera of gauge below 30 microns.
The ban was based on the effects the Kavera has on the environment namely:-
- Clogging of water channels both in urban and rural towns and areas.
- Impeding smooth water filtration and percolation into soil.
- Producing dangerous chemical products when used to wrap or cover food stuffs.
- Releasing of cancerous fumes in the air when burnt, posing danger to human lives.
However, when NEMA tried to implement the ban, Government of Uganda came out to interfere with NEMA by frustrating its efforts to execute its mandate.
On 15th April 2015 once again NEMA, in abid to execute its mandate, banned the use, sell, manufacture and importation of the said Kavera. It should be noted that the majority of Ugandans had started complying with the recommendation as passed by parliament.
We also understand that the business community who are primarily interested in Profits have all along influenced Government‘s decision on this matter and unfortunately, government has also chosen to side with this group as its interest seems to be on more revenue collection in taxes at the expense of people’s health and the overall health of the Environment.
We note with concern that the current dilly-darling of government through the office of the prime minister is meant to frustrate this effort by NEMA.
The National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) is concerned that Government has continued to interfere with the legitimate functions of NEMA and against the wish of the majority Ugandans to ban Kavera. We are also concerned that the business community has continued to produce Kavera and influencing Government to lift the ban without providing appropriate remedial solutions to the negative impacts associated with the Kavera.
Government has also continued to neglect advice from civil society on possible alternatives to the Kavera.
We therefore recommend that;
- Government should continue with the Ban on Kavera without heeding to the intimidation by the business community.
- Government should cease interfering with the technical work and mandate of NEMA.
- The business community should work towards putting in place industries or businesses that are environmentally friendly.
- The public should desist from buying and using of the Kaveras.
- If NEMA cannot be left to execute its mandate, then it should be disbanded.
We note that if these recommendations are not headed to, more environmental degradation will continue un batted in this country. At this point, NAPE will have no other option but to mobilize and join hands with the rest of other Ugandans to resist this shameful and inconsiderate act by government and the business community.
Let us work together and save our Environment
For and on behalf of NAPE.