In a move to raise public awareness on sound chemical use and waste management, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has disseminated awareness materials to the districts of Kiboga, Kassanda, and Kyankwanzi.
The materials in form of t-shirts, caps, stickers and posters that display information on proper use of agro-chemicals, health impacts of mercury use and proper waste management were handed over to the district officials in the respective districts and other members of the public for easy information dissemination.
Ms.Peruth Atukwatse, the Program Officer in charge of Chemicals Management at NAPE says though chemicals are used in day to day life in different products, there is need for consumers to be conscious of the contents of the products they use. She says different chemicals may pose great threats to ecosystems and human health if not properly handled.
Ms. Atukwatse believes lack of awareness in handling, storage and use of most of the chemicals like pesticides and herbicides in still a big issue in many communities. She says poor disposal of wastes and uncontrolled dumping continues to pose a threat to people and the environment.
“Artisanal miners use mercury to extract gold which is harmful to their health and environment. Even farmers are using agro-chemicals without protective gears. Therefore, we are coming up with these materials to disseminate information on these dangers and proper handling but also promoting less harmful alternatives,” she said while handing over the materials to Kassanda district officials.
While receiving the materials, JohnBosco Ssewankambo, the Kassanda Deputy Chief Administrative Officer said the materials were timely since artisanal gold mining has now become a big economic activity in the district where miners use mercury. He also added that Kassanda is known for growing maize and coffee and sometimes farmers use agrochemicals without protective gears.
“These materials will help us to raise public awareness because they understand better when you are showing them pictures explaining the dangers, we are going to also disseminate the materials to the respective communities” Ssewankambo said.
In Kiboga, the materials were received by the district Senior Natural Resource Officer, Patrick Musasizi who hailed NAPE and Community Green Radio for contributing towards natural resource conservation.
“However much we try to sensitize the public on dangers of improper handling of chemicals and poor waste management, the intake is still low. We therefore thank NAPE for these materials and the radio for always advocating for environmental conservation. You are easing our work,” Musasizi said.