Kaveera Manufacturers Accuse NEMA of Double Standard

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Days after the National Environmental Management Authority [NEMA] launched its operation to stop the usage and manufacturing of polythene bags; manufacturers and business people earning a living from this business have come up and blamed the Authority for “insensitivity and sheer double standards”

These over the weekend questioned how NEMA would go ahead to ban plastic bags that are allowed by law. Yesterday the group held a demonstration calling for NEMA to stop their operations as recently directed by the Prime Minister.

They went on to blame the authority of evading its responsibility  stopping importation of the poor quality and illegal plastic bags, link which they say are smuggled across the border from Kenya and Tanzania, troche where they have been banned.

Ronnie Mayambala a production engineer at Pipeline industries the firm recycling polythene bags says that while polythene papers are dangerous to the environment, there are ways of mitigating this if NEMA was playing its part.

The process of recycling polythene bags, at Pipeline Industries
The process of recycling polythene bags, at Pipeline Industries

‘It’s the role of NEMA to educate people on proper disposal of polythene papers rather than banning them. We as manufacturers are abiding by the government’s regulations of producing polythene above thirty microns,” Mayambala remarked

He added, that three years back when they had just opened up a recycling plant, there was plenty of used polthene bags that were collected and brought to them especially by street kids, but now the supply has gone down, possibly because of poor disposal.

“All our plastic bags are above 30 microns, those below 30 microns are majorly from Kenya which set strict laws to conserve their environment.  For example almost 80% of all polythene bags sold in Soroti and Mbale are not manufactured here,” revealed Mayambala.

Kenneth Tumusiime a waste management expert says that the problem in Uganda is not polythene materials and plastic materials but the knowledge and behavior of users.


“Papers and plastics are recyclable but Ugandans are mishandling them due to lack of knowledge on how to dispose them. Many people throw used plastic bags on the roadsides and in water sources which makes it hard for the collectors to gather them for recycling” Tumusiime remarked.

Tumusiime adds that it is the role of the government through NEMA to sensitize the people on proper handling of polythene bags and other wastes

“Some people think that burning of polythene bags is the safer way of protecting the environment, but don’t realize that’s the most dangerous thing on the eco system.

Steven Kalyemenya chairperson for plastic bottles and used polythene papers at Kiteezi KCCA filed says that together with KCCA they have worked hard to reduce on the number of polythene papers in the environment through establishing market for used papers at various recycling industries.

“In Kiteezi we have over 600 people surviving in collection of plastic materials and scrap from the waste collected from all over Kampala.  It’s these people who ensure that no polythene paper is left in the garbage” Kalyemenya said.

Responding to these issues, NEMA Spokesperson Naome Kateraho told Chimpreports that the Authority would not stop confiscating substandard polythene bags until they are all cleared from the market.

“The operations we have been carrying out have been legally authorized. We been examining the size of paper bags using approved equipment so it is not true that we just picked them from various city stores,” she said.

On the issue of smuggling in polythene papers from the neighboring countries Naome assured manufacturers that NEMA would get in touch with Uganda Revenue Authority to step up security on all boarders points stop further importation of fake polythene papers

“We have done enough sensitization to the mass using all forms of media outlets in the country on environmental protection related issues and we hope to continue doing so” Naome added

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