The increase in improper disposal of plastic waste in the Albertine Region, mid-western Uganda in particular and Uganda in general has raised the eyebrows of environmentalists challenging oil and gas companies operating in the graben to be at pole position in ending such litter.
Mr Dozith Abeinomugisha, the Director of Petroleum, Refining, Conservation, Transformation and Storage at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), challenges companies in the oil and gas sector to take proactive strides towards proper management of plastic waste in all their operations in the Albertine region.
He says by adopting innovative and technological ways in managing plastic waste, the environment will be salvaged from the hazardous plastic pollution which ultimately even affects people and other living organisms both on land and water.
He recommends the use of paper as a substitute of plastic material and also positioning different rubbish bins at locations for both solid and plastic waste to enable better refuse management and recycling.
Mr Isaac Ntujju, the Principal Environment Inspector in the National Environment Management Authority, observes that focusing on attitudinal change among all stakeholders in the community is among the surer ways of ending improper disposal of plastic waste in the oil and gas areas of operation and Uganda in general.
He says amid the ongoing campaign that is seeing many trees planted in the oil-rich operation areas it is important to always protect them for the next generation to enjoy a clean and good environment adding that the general principle should be adopting a circular economy to avoid resilience to harsh environmental conditions.
The acting Hoima District Local Government Chairman, Mr Benson Rukumba Chiche, attributes the current and recently experienced flood flashes of River Nyamwamba and Lake Albert in Kasese and Bunyoro respectively and the landslides in Bududa district to environmental degradation.
The politician wants human activities on the environment to be checked and reverse the current harsh environmental effects to the original shape and cushion life for all living organisms in the future.
He advocates for a green world with economies investing in environmental-friendly alternative sources of energy; encouraging people to resort to using sustainable resources like solar energy to save trees from destruction.
Mr Chiche calls for more sensitisation campaigns about proper disposal of waste, environmental conservation and tree planting urging the PAU to always sound environment risk alerts and practically spearhead all efforts towards the cause.
The Deputy Mayor for Hoima City, Ms Sylvia Balyesiima Nalumaga, is concerned that the high disposal of plastics is especially witnessed in cities that end up in water bodies, blocking drainage systems and causing floods when it rains heavily.
She calls for the establishment of waste recycling plants and zero waste projects besides sensitising communities about the dangers of poor disposal of plastic materials to organisms given that they are not biodegradables.
This was during the belated celebration of the World Environment Day in Hoima city under the theme: “Stop pollution and restore nature.”
At the function, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Minister for Diaspora, Mr Philip Katahoire, who represented the kingdom Prime Minister, urged the oil and gas sector to sensitise people about conserving the environment.
He also urged politicians to make bi-laws aimed to protect trees against indiscriminate and irresponsible felling in addition to managing plastic disposal.