Government orders NEMA to firmly implement ban on plastics

In summary

  • The standards stipulate 30 microns as the minimum requirement for flat and plastic carrier bags.
  • Restaurants advised to refrain from cooking food covered with polythene carrier bags.

Environment State Minister has directed the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to take decisive action and act against the rampant production and use of banned plastics across the country.

Ms Beatrice Anywar, issued the directive during a high level engagement on the National Strategy for Plastics Regulation in Uganda organised by the NEMA.

NEMA together with other government agencies in Uganda are assigned different responsibilities by the law to implement and enforce the law on importation, local manufacture, distribution and use of plastic carrier bags below 30 microns.

However, the implementation has on several occasions hit a dead end.

Under the various laws stipulated in the Environmental Act, NEMA is mandated to monitor, regulate, supervise and coordinate all activities relating to the environment while Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is mandated to enforce product standards.

However, many factors including resistance from the manufacturers have continued to delay enforcement of plastics ban in Uganda.

The manufacturers claim that they recycle the plastics blaming the government that it has not considered banning the most dangerous packaging materials that cannot be recycled.

The minister says producers of various products especially drinks should look at alternative packaging of their products so that they act as good examples to environment conservation.

NEMA has undertaken inspections and inventory of facilities manufacturing plastic carrier bags since 2020, during which the manufacturers of plastic carrier bags are informed of the requirements in the Act.

The requirements stipulate 30 microns as the minimum requirement for flat and plastic carrier bags.

The standard further stipulates that bags shall be free from defects such as gels, streaks, pinholes, and particles of foreign matter, in dispersed raw materials, cuts and tears that would impair the performance of the bags.

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