NEMA impounds over 18000 kgs of Polythene

The National Environment Management Authority -NEMA has started the process of safely disposing off over 18,000 kilograms polythene bags impounded in recent operations.

Epsilon Uganda Limited, a local waste management company is handling the incineration process conducted in Zirobwe, Nakasongola district. The exercise, expected to last one week, starts today.

This follows a directive banning the use, sale and distribution of polyethylene material below 30 microns as one of the mechanisms to protect the environment against degradation.

NEMA led an operation from April 2015 to confiscate polyethylene material and bags from traders who had initially defied the ban. The operation targeted industries, supermarkets, shopping malls and street traders across the country.

State Minister for environment Flavia Munaaba says that the company is using a new technology that incinerates the polyethylene at high temperature in order to limit any possible danger to the environment. She says the incineration will be done in sequences following the size of career bags recovered.

She was addressing a press conference at the media centre in Kampala.

Munaaba equally appealed to the general public to embrace use of alternative bags instead of the polythene bags stating that it is for the protection of the environment.

She also warned factories against engaging in more production and trade polyethylene bags commonly referred to as Kaveera and advised them to engage in the production of other plastics that are not prohibited.

NEMA records indicate that up to 39,000 tons of polythene-related waste is dumped in the environment yearly in the country and yet most of them take years to decompose.

However, Even with the ban, many retail shops still have polythene bags and are profiting from them.

Aidah Nakabugo, a shop attendant states that no better option has been identified by the Government or NEMA on the materials.  She states that although paper bags work, they have not provided the much needed alternative.