Ms Kyambadde, who appeared before the Parliament Committee on Natural Resources, said that an immediate ban on plastic carrier bags under 30 microns doesn’t guarantee a clear phase out strategy by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
“The decision to ban the manufacture, importation and use of plastic carrier bags totally was rushed and there were limited stakeholder consultations,” Ms Kyambadde said.
Concerns raised by MPs to the trade ministry slowed the implementation to ban kaveera / polythene plastics.
Ms kyambade was questioned by some minsters for the lack of her support in process of banning plastics, and it’s believed that there are no clear restrictions on companies licensed to deal in plastics on the volume of plastic microns to be produced.
The trade minister said that thickness of microns and above is the acceptable volume for polythene bags and its believed this method will bring out and encourage the best practices of awareness and waste management in the collection and recycling of of such bags.
“We strongly support the ban on plastic bags that are below 30 microns. And the current state of the bill includes also those over 30 microns,”She added.
The minister assured MPs that plastic industries are being followed up and they assigned officers to follow-up on the work of these industries in order to make sure they abide by the set rules.
The national environment bill wants to cancel and replace the national environmental act in order to be in line with the apparent government policies.
MPs raised concerns that the Trade Ministry had slowed down the implementation of the ban on plastics.
“We met with the Minster for Environment and officials from NEMA who told us that you did not fully support the ban on plastics,” Kiboga East MP, Keefa Kiwanuka who’s also the Committee Chairperson is quoted saying.
Mr Denis Sabiiti (NRM, Rubanda West County) noted that factories dealing in plastics had been licensed without restrictions on the volume of microns, and asked the minister about strategy in place to collect and recycle polythene bags [kaveera].
Ms Kyambadde said setting the standard thickness of 30 microns and above for acceptable plastic carriers in accordance with the Uganda standard – US773, will promote best practices of waste management, awareness, collection and recycling of plastics.
She said that the point of contention was that the Bill provided for a total ban on polythene bags rather than distinguishing in micron volumes.
“We support the ban on plastic carriers but it should be restricted to those that are below 30 microns. The Bill in it’s current state would affect even those that are over 30 microns,” she said.
Ms Kyambadde assured the MPs that her ministry had written to all industries dealing in the manufacture of plastics to ensure proper plastic waste management and set up collection centres.
“We have also assigned officers to follow-up these industries and make sure they abide by our set guidelines,” she added.
She also suggested that Clause 75 of the Bill be amended by inserting the imposition of a green levy on manufacturers of plastics and plastic products, at a rate determined by the Ministers for Water and Environment, Trade and Industry, and Finance, Planning and Economic Development, according to Parliament website.
“The green levy shall be for the purposes of raising funds to facilitate the management of plastics and plastic products, with an estimated Shs8 billion collected annually for the purpose,” she said.
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