The National Environment Management Authority’s rigorous crackdown on the manufacture, importation and use of polythene bags below 30 microns is fast getting people out of jobs.
The crackdown followed the expiry of the grace period given to the manufacturers and business community to comply with the ban that was announced way back in 2009. The crackdown has prompted some polythene bag manufacturers to lay off several workers and close shop.
One such company is Medi Point. Naren Mehta, the managing director, Medi point said they employ over 150 workers but because of the ban they have to lay them off. Mehta urged Nema to reconsider enforcing the ban because they have loans to pay.
Badru Muwanga, the managing director, LUUKA Plastics, wants government to guide citizens on how to use and dispose of the polythene bags like it is done in other countries instead of closing their businesses.
He said they have been forced to lay off several employees because of theban. Muwanga, however, declined to disclose how many employees have been affected by the ban.
Christine Akello, Nema’s legal officer, said they gave the manufacturers of polythene bags enough time to stop production but they went on with their normal business. She said much as many people have lost jobs, the impact of polythene bags on both human beings and the environment is bigger.
Tom Okurut, the Nema executive director, said many supermarkets and shops in and around Kampala had already embraced the use of paper bags which are environmentally friendly. He said all district environment officers must enforce the ban upcountry
Source : The Observer