NEMA Ban on Plastic Bags On

Rugunda notes that ban applies to the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of polythene carrier bags.

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The enforcement of the ban on plastic bags of 30 microns and below is in force, despite claims by some city traders that it has been postponed. Dr. Tom Okurut, the Executive Director National Environment Management Authority-NEMA says the ban that took effect on Wednesday is ongoing since they have not received any communication to halt it.

According to Okurut, they are working with government agencies such as Police and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to enforce the ban. He dismisses as false claims by City traders that the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has stopped the enforcement of the ban adding that, as the enforcement agency they have not received any communication to that effect.

Dr. Okurut says they confiscated 15,400 polythene bags from Game super market on Wednesday, which they found hidden when management hear that NEMA had launched its operation. He says traders in other city supermarkets voluntarily surrendered the polythen bags to their operatives. 

Dr. Okurut says the operations is expected to roll out to other parts of the country, adding that, proprietors of supermarkets and shops have been asked to put in place containers for recollecting the polythene bags. Beatrice Anywar, the Shadow Environment Minister has welcomed the move by NEMA to enforce the ban on plastic bags saying it shows that the authority is serious about protection of the environment.

Anywar has promised to join the campaign to enforce the plastic bag ban so as to protect the environment.

//Cue in: “we stood together…”

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This morning, the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda published a statement on his official face book page saying the ban on the plastic bags of 30 microns and below will continue as consultations are held to discuss the handling of other types of polythene carrier bags.

According to Rugunda, following consultations with cabinet an

Inter-Ministerial Committee has been set up to examine the matter further to conclude the consultation process, and prepare a Cabinet Paper within 30 days for the consideration and decision of Cabinet.

The Committee comprises of Ministers of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives; Water and Environment; Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; Finance, Planning and Economic Development; together with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA); Uganda Manufacturers\' Association; and Kampala City Traders\' Association (KACITA).

He also says Manufacturers and distributors have been directed to establish polythene collection centers across the country and intensify public sensitization on polythene waste management. Rugunda notes that ban applies to the importation, local manufacture, sale or use of polythene carrier bags. 

He however, says the ban excludes polythene packaging materials for agriculture; industrial use; medical use; research and science; sanitation; construction material; and exports. It also excludes polythene packaging materials for foodstuffs such as bread, milk and other groceries.