The Masindi District Safe Pesticide Use Committee has started engaging agrochemical distributors so they can start taking back empty containers for recycling.
Ms Olivia Nabukenya, the committee chairperson says this mode will enable them promote safe disposal of the agrochemical containers in the district.
The chairperson reveals that she has at least sold the idea to one agrochemical distributor on the possibility of farmers returning empty containers to them at a certain fee in order to be reused for a container-free environment.
Ms Nabukenya adds that the distributor bought the idea saying it will reduce the cost of packaging the chemicals.
The chairperson says recycling the containers is one of the measures of protecting the environment from destruction as the Committee seeks sources of funding to construct an incinerator for them.
The current alternative way of engaging the distributors follows one of the unfulfilled plans to construct an incinerator in which empty agrochemical containers can be safely destroyed.
The plan was to be implemented by a three-year-project codenamed Pesticide Use, Health and Environment (PHE) with funding from the Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health (UNACOH).
The project that was to be implemented by Masindi district local government and Masindi District Farmers’ Association (MADIFA) aimed to promote safe use of agrochemicals to protect the environment and people’s health in the district.
Addressing members in the district boardroom, Ms Nabukenya told the committee that Masindi was ranked third after Sembabule and Kumi out of the 18 districts that implemented the project in the country.
She calls for the project sustainability by all stakeholders lest they lose the gains so far attained.
The project was implemented in the district after research indicated that there was a high quantity of agrochemical residue in water sources and food items due to misuse of agrochemicals in Masindi.
Ms Doreen Bagambaki, the district project focal person, said there was a change of attitude towards the use of agrochemicals in the district terming it as a project achievement.
The achievements include knowledge about safe use of pesticides and use of protective gears while handling pesticides among others.
The committee members including the district health officer, Mr Patrick Baguma, welcomed the committee’s initiatives, calling for continued public sensitisation about safe use of agrochemicals for continued changing of people’s attitudes towards them.