By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: On Friday, under the theme, STOP PLASTIC POLLUTION TODAY, RESTORE NATURE, Caritas spearheaded commemoration of World Environment Day, 2023 where participants decried
Speaking at the celebrations on Friday in Kampala, Rev. Fr. Hillary Muhezagago, the new Director of Caritas Uganda showed dissatisfaction on the slow policy enforcement by the government through National Environment Management Act that was assented to by the president in 2019.Rev. Fr. Hillary Muhezagago, the new Director of Caritas Uganda and his team are seen during celebrations/Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He says this law could help in reducing the continued use of plastic into the country.
He also referred to Pope Francis letter “Laudato Si” – The encyclical letter Laudato Si (“Praised Be”) by Pope Francis is the most comprehensive Vatican document to date on environmentalism, ethics, and Christian faith that he wrote on the environment.
“I direct my staff at Caritas Uganda that whenever you are sending in invitations for high level events like this put it in the letter that each participant has to come along with the container”. He directed.
At the same event, Hon. Christine Kaaya Nakimwero who doubles as the Kiboga District Woman Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for Water and Environment revealed that there are two legal instruments in place, the National Environment Act of 2019 and the Climate Change Act of 2021 but says their implementation is stalled due to absence of regulations backing them.(L-R) Hon. Christine Kaaya Nakimwero, Kiboga District Woman Member of Parliament, Rev. Fr. Hillary Muhezagago, the new Director of Caritas Uganda and another legislator in an exciting conversation on the sidelines of the event/Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
The law provides for institutional frameworks at national and local levels, offences against the environment, and sanctions. Section 76(4) of the Act, specifically, addresses plastic pollution, which is the central theme of this year’s WED. It bans the manufacture, importation, and exportation of plastic carrier materials below 30 microns.
“Of recent, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) came up with same regulations but many were doubting their implementation that it was the police to get us, what happens to police when we pay fees we didn’t know”. Hon. Kaaya.
“We are here to remind government that also the environment sector has been subscribing to the revenue baskets of this country and we have been advocating that certain percentages should be brought back to ensure that we recover the lost glory of our environment which is not yet in place so we are wondering when NEMA comes up with those regulations without demonstrations of the technologies.” She added.Ms. Anne Nakafero, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) District Support Officer/Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
In her keynote address, Anne Nakafero, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) District Support Officer recommended reduction in single use of plastics, embracement of sustainable consumption habits amongst the general public.
She said government imposed producer extended responsibility as part of promoting a circular economy in management of plastics an plastic products as well emphasized national-wide multi-sectoral and multimedia critical environment.
She urged the general public to be innovative and adopt business models. She went on to emphasize on waste management , phasing out micro plastics and promoting research into alternatives.
She mentioned that globally, we buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute which is quite high, especially in developing countries where our resilience is low. ‘Resilience in terms of health, climate change, food security, and in terms of fighting diseases’.Participants are seen attentively listenning to the conversations/Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on 5 June and encourages awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It is supported by many non-governmental organizations, businesses, government entities, and represents the primary United Nations outreach day supporting the environment.
First held in 1973, it has been a platform for raising awareness on environmental issues as marine pollution, overpopulation, global warming, sustainable development and wildlife crime. World Environment Day is a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, the program has provided a theme and forum for businesses, non government organizations, communities, governments and celebrities to advocate environmental causes.