Polythene Ban Hits Uganda

The move by the environment protection authority to ban the use of thin polythene packing materials has taken some Ugandans by surprise despite warnings placed last year, writes SHARON KYATUSIIMIRE.

Polythene bags (buveera) were initially banned several years ago, but several manufactucturers and importers persuaded the government to reverse the directive citing the aerse economic impact this would have.

Last week however, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) placed several public notices indicating an April 15th cut-off date. This caught a number of traders by surprise.

NEMA started by cracking down on big retailers, like supermarkets who package goods in buveera.

Many small traders interviewed by East African Business Week said costs for their customers would rise.

Obed Butaregye, a trader in Kampala’s biggest retail hub, Owino market, said they cannot afford to increase their prices to cover for the cost of the packing materials.

“We are still hoping that the implementation of such a policy will flop like it before but if it succeeds, we are going to be affected. Customers are used to us packing for them goods and this is normally done in ‘buveera'”

Ammon Muhairwe said the move might flop, but is worried that they have not been given enough time to prepare for this change. However NEMA had made its intentions known during mid-August 2014.

Source : East African Business Week

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