The State minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, has blamed plastic pollution in the country on the neighbouring state of Rwanda.
“I get embarrassed when I am flying with KLM, when you reach Rwanda, they tell you to leave all the plastics in the aircraft because it is not allowed in Rwanda. So the plane leaves Rwanda with plastics, which end up in Uganda, including the ones of the Rwandans which were left in the plane,” she said.
Anywar was speaking at a dialogue on climate change in Kampala. She said plastics from Rwanda are polluting the country’s environment due to limited attention towards protection.
Anywar says that the Ugandan government has failed to reign over the large volumes of plastics being manufactured from within the country despite the clear laws, according to environmentalists.
According to section 2 of the 2009 Finance Act, the law prohibits the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of plastic bags or bags of polymers of ethene and polyethene.
However implementation of the ban has remained a mystery due to disagreements and alleged intense lobbying by plastics manufacturers in the country.
Plastic bags are the major cause of water contamination in the lakes of Uganda causing threats to fish and aquatic life. They are also the major cause of clogging sewage systems in Kampala, a big problem that underpins endless flooding.
Minister Anywar also disclosed ministry’s plans reporting plastic pollution. She said President Museveni has now taken centre stage in protecting the country’s environment and that a lot will change.
“The President declared a war on saving the environment and we are strategising as soldiers going to the front. The underground work is being done.
A sub-cabinet committee was formed [to spearhead] ‘Ten years of restoration of the degraded environment’ headed by first deputy Prime Minister Rebecca Kadaga and we have been meeting every week. Soon you will see the bullets [impact],” she added.
A recent report from the Ministry of Water and Environment shows that wetlands declined from 15.6 per cent in 1990 to 8.4 per cent in 2017, while forest cover reduced from 24 per cent in 1990 to 9 per cent in 2015.