6th June, 2018
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on Wednesday directed that the law banning importation or manufacture of polythene bags be immediately implemented.
The law was suspended three years ago in Uganda.
Museveni’s directive came a day after the world commemorated World Environment Day on Tuesday.
“The continued manufacture of banned products must stop,” said Museveni in a statement read by Sam Cheptoris, minister for water and environment at celebrations held in the eastern district of Mbale.
“Banning the manufacture, distribution, sale and use is encompassing of the different promoters of these products. This law has not been repealed and should be enforced,” he said.
The directive comes about three years after government, Uganda Manufactures Association and Kampala City Traders Association reached an agreement to suspend the ban on the manufacture and use of the environmentally hazardous product in April 2015.
The manufacturers and traders argued that the ban, in the absence of alternatives, disadvantage shoppers, reduce jobs as industries scale down production and contract tax revenue.
The parties agreed to carry out more research and find alternatives for over 40 companies manufacturing polythene bags in the country.
There have been divided opinions in the country following the government’s proposal to prohibit and impose a total ban on the manufacture and importation of plastic bags, second hand refrigerators and computers.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) said the “the economic, health and social costs of the continued use of polythene bags outweighs the economic benefits derived from the production of bags and its cost is reflected in the increasing cost of malaria, reduced agricultural productivity and infrastructure repairs.”
Approximately 39,600 tons of polythene waste is released into the environment and most of it accumulates in the soil each year in Uganda, according to NEMA.
Government has advised manufacturers of plastic bags in the country to adopt new technologies of making biodegradable bags.