UGANDA: Vehicles to be fitted with refuse bags from 1 April 2023

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OUGANDA : les véhicules devront s’équiper de sacs poubelles dès le 1er avril 2023©Pecold/Shutterstock

Faced with growing pollution in Uganda, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is tightening environmental laws. As a result, as of April 1, 2023, every private vehicle on the road in the East African country will be required to carry a garbage bag for waste storage.

In Uganda, the government is taking solid waste management to the next level. On 8 February 2023, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) announced the tightening of environmental laws. According to the government agency, every private vehicle on the road in Uganda will have to carry a garbage bag from 1 April 2023. “As long as you use something that is not banned to contain your waste, you should be fine. Plastic bags are banned,” says Naomi Karekaho, the Nema spokesperson.

The government has assured Ugandans that a detailed list of recommended waste bags will be unveiled in a forthcoming amendment. And penalties are also in the pipeline… For example, the Administrative Penalty Scheme for environmental offences to be launched soon by NEMA, in line with the National Environment Act 2019 stipulates that throwing rubbish out of a car window or driving a car without a dustbin is punishable by a maximum fine of Ugandan shillings 6 million, plus $1,635. Motorists who refuse to pay the fines will face prosecution and imprisonment or other punishment as determined by the courts.

Reducing waste pollution

NEMA’s Administrative Penalty Scheme for Environmental Offences also stipulates that leaving waste outside residential premises, commercial buildings, on the roadside or in a ditch, river, stream, lake, pond or canal is punishable by a fine of up to 6 million Ugandan shillings, more than $1,635.

Through this move, the Ugandan government aims to reduce the growing pollution in the country, especially in the city of Kampala where 51% of the waste produced ends up in the nature in the absence of an effective recovery system, according to the Ugandan branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). With single-use plastic being one of the major problems, Nema is introducing two other specific sanctions.

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For example, Ugandans who import, export, manufacture, use or reuse plastic bags or plastic products made from ethane (polyethylene) and propylene polymers smaller than 30 microns can be fined 100 million Ugandan shillings, or US$27,270. Activities that result in “aggravated pollution” or pollution of the environment in contravention of the conditions contained in a pollution control licence or permit, the discharge or emission of pollutants into the environment in contravention of approved standards are also subject to a maximum fine of Ugandan Shillings 6 billion, more than US$1.6 million

Inès Magoum

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