Soroti municipality’s crackdown on the use of polythene bags has netted over 15 cartons from supermarkets and wholesale shops.
The operation, meant to shore up a ban on the production, distribution and use of polythene bags, was conducted in two days targeting major supermarkets within the municipality, which ignored the notice from the National Environment Management Authority- NEMA to end their use.
Although government granted an extension to the grace period, NEMA issued a notice to major supermarkets to devise alternative means of packing commodities for their customers. Its operations started in major shopping malls in Kampala on April 15.
The ban on all polyethylene material below 30 microns seeks to control the effects of such materials, locally known as Kaveera, on the environment.
Proponents of the ban say the materials clog water channels, impede smooth water filtration, and release cancerous fumes in the air when burnt, posing a risk to human life as well. Soroti Municipal Environment Officer Eric Paul Engulu said the economic, health and social cost of continued use of Polyethylene materials outweighs its economic benefit to the economy.
He said the operations would continue until the use of the material is eliminated. However, members of the business community in Soroti said they were not alerted before the operation. Noel Milton Eulu, the manager of Combo Traders in Soroti town, said they were never notified about the ban following the extension of the grace period by government.
He aised that more emphasis should be put on banning manufacturing as opposed to punishing the end users.
Source : The Observer