Waste plastics

Uganda will join the rest of the world to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, 2018. The National celebrations will be in Mbale district at the Mbale Cricket Grounds under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

The celebration of the Day in Uganda comes after a series of activities that have taken place to mark the Environment Week.
World Environment Day is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment through the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

In line with this year’s theme, the national celebrations will specifically focus on exploring alternatives to avoidable single use polythene carrier bags commonly known as kaveera, which have become a menace to our environment. The polythene bags take hundreds of years to decompose and as such pollute our soils, becoming a threat to agriculture which is the backbone of Uganda’s economy.

Kaveera also pollute our lakes & rivers, is a threat to marine life, have caused loss of livestock, both domestic and wild and as such hinder a number of economic activities that are a source of livelihood to many communities.
The unsafe use and indiscriminate disposal of polythene bags has been well documented to be toxic and harmful to human health, as such practices have been listed among causes of non-communicable diseases such as respiratory infections, High Blood Pressure and cancer.

Currently the sustainable garbage disposal systems and practices are deficient, partially as a result of the increasing population and the indiscriminate litter of plastics especially the plastic carrier bags.

Since its inception in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform to raise awareness and prioritize the need for immediate personal, institutional, national and international interventions to protect the environment from the realities of Climate Change.

The Ministry of Water and Environment through National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has organized a number of activities to mark World Environment Day; including a tree planting campaign, city and town clean ups across the country, public dialogues and environment awareness marathons in the districts of Mbale, Gulu and Mbarara among others.

The ministry has urged Ugandans to take part in World Environment Day activities and be a part of the biggest celebration for the cause of environment and natural resources. “It is only with consolidated efforts that we shall realise exponential results,” it says, adding that Ugandans are key stakeholders in environment conservation and management.

Globally, India, the host the Day’s celebrations.
“The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences,” says the United Nations.