The European Union Ambassador to Ugandan Attilio Pacifici has urged the people of Jinja to recycle plastics to protect the environment, especially around water bodies.
While officiating the commemorations of the international ocean governance agenda for the future of oceans and large water bodies which took place at Masese landing site on Lake Victoria in Jinja district, Pacifici said plastic waste comes with a price especially when they are disposed in the water.
“Plastic waste comes with a price. It has tiny particles and they are everywhere, in waters. When they end up in our food, we all pay price for it. We have to start fighting back.”
“We see levels of sea rising, we see plastic everywhere but it can be recycled. Working with plastics and recycling them can reduce the quantity,” he said.
He called on the residents not to dispose plastics in the water.
Further, Pacifici led the activity of cleaning up the site.
He applauded countries such as Tanzania that imposed a ban on plastic polythene bags.
Collins Oloya, the Director Environment Affairs in the Ministry of Water and Environment who represented Minister of State for Environment Mary Gorreti Kitutu said that the revised National Environment Act 2019 prohibits littering.
“The Act provides stringent measures to prevent littering but the challenge is now largely on enforcement of the provisions,” he said.
Oloya also noted that littering on lakes and rivers is an emerging environmental challenge that calls for immediate action by all stakeholders.
“Plastic waste is likely to adversely affect our lakes, rivers and marine organisms. The lack of clear waste management systems around some of the beaches aggravates the challenge in addition to traditional beliefs that the lake has capacity to absorb all the waste,” he added.
It is reported that communities around beaches do not construct sanitary facilities and all their waste ends up in water bodies.
He called on all communities around beaches and landing sites to act responsibly to avoid pollution of water bodies.
“In a bid to transit to the blue economy, the country needs to put measures in place to ensure that we prevent littering of the water bodies. There is a lot of untapped potential especially in ecotourism, but that cannot be tapped in a littered environment.”
He also revealed that Government of Uganda through Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities has prepared a tourism master plan aimed at turning the source of the Nile into a world tourism destination and Masese beach, where today’s activities occurred is part of the master plan.
Jinja Municipality Mayor Majid Batambuze applauded the Union for this global exercise of cleaning up beaches to address issues of climate change and environmental degradation.
“It is a global exercise that has been taking place in Europe, America and Africa led by ambassador Pacifici. Water is life. We need to have water bodies cleaned,” he said.
Batambuze added that Lake Victoria is source of life in East Africa because it connects Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania but expressed disappointment that it’s shores are continuously being polluted by plastics.
He also said Masese landing site gives employment to over 200 people.
He assured EU delegation that the cleanup exercise will not end today, but rather continue to ensure sanitation and environmental protection.