Packing for customers on major shopping malls and supermarkets in the Kampala city remained a challenge as the directive from the Prime Minister to post pone the implementation of polythene bags (buveera) ban hit a snag.

Many of these shopping centres opted to the use of paper bags and empty boxes to pack the commodities and other items. However, the ban brightened business for some people who quickly adjusted and rushed into making paper bags that sold out like hotcakes.

National Environment Management Authority issued a public notice with effect from 15th April to ban the use of Polythene bags. Despite the numerous efforts to implement bans against buveera since 2012, all have been in vain.

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The campaign aims at protecting the environment from pollution as well as promoting good health habits. The cooks in congested areas of down town that use polythen bags to cover food do not know about the health dangers associated with that.

One of the managers at Mega Supermarket, who only revealed his identity as George said, “We are waiting for the government’s final meeting with NEMA officials.”

He further expressed concern about the immediate action as unfair since they still have many Buveeras in stock. “The buveeras are worth Shs50 million because the small ones are sold at Shs8000 and big ones at Shs3500 a pack. We need a grace period for like a period of 3 months so that the stock gets out quickly and an alternative put in place for paper bags,” said George.

However this comes as good news to some youth that have been involved in making paper bags to earn a living. John Luswata, who makes paper bags and crafts to customers, sees this as an opportunity to broaden his market besides the supermarkets. “Some customers will want bags that are reusable to use in the markets than having to buy one all the time,” Luswata said.

The PM adjourned the campaign after he met up with Representatives of Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) and Kampala City Traders’ Association (KACITA) on Tuesday to discuss on the welfare of businesses at the moment. However NEMA defied this and went ahead to kick start the campaign.

cninsiima@eagle.co.ug