On Thursday last week, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) seized a large number of polythene bags (buveera) from many supermarkets around Kampala. Buveera of less than 30 microns were banned in June this year and Nema swung into action to enforce the ban last week. We asked people around the city what they think about the ban and if they can do away with using polythene bags.
Ms Faridah Namugenyi (Bread seller)
This is something which is too hard to do away with. For example I'm a person who sells bread, groundnuts and many products, which cannot be displayed in paper bags or the banana leaves they want us to resort to. I feel the government wants to fail us. This is unfair and I totally don't support it.
Mr Paul Iga (Businessman)
The government is just being unfair to us. Sincerely what can we do without polythene bags when they are not even giving us an alternative? And now that they are banned, I don't know what my customers will do because my business of selling clothes will be affected. I can't give my customers clothes just like that, they have to obviously be packed and a 'kaveera' is the most convenient packaging. However, if the government comes up with an alternative and affordable packaging solution it would be okay with us.
Mr Jamil Mbikke Muwonge (Retailer)
We can only abide by the government's rules if they tell us clearly which type of buveera have been banned. And there is no way you can ban polythene bags when many of the things we import into the country come already packed in polythene bags. So unless they also ban buveera in the courtiers where we import our goods, then there is no solution.
Mr Boaz Rutaremwa (Multiple Electrical)
It's right to ban buveera, only that the government should always come up with an alternative before imposing a ban on certain products. All I think the government should do right now is to come up with an alternative for business people who have been using polythene bags like encouraging them to use paper bags.
Mr Salim Musinguzi (Businessman)
We can't do away with polythene bags because not everyone will abide by the law. However, the government should first find an alternative for the people who have been using polythenes and when that is done, they should set up a collection centre for buveeras and encourage people by somehow enticing them with a token for every polythene bag collected. These could then be recycled into some other raw materials, which make plastics and then be sold to industries like Nice House of Plastics or even exporting them.
Mr Benson Kemigisha (Businessman)
This ban on polythene bags would have been good for us and our environment, however, with the corruption in this government, this policy will be failed by one of the ministries. For instance the seat belt policy was put in place and within one month, everyone had taken another direction. So unless the government gets serious in enforcing policies, our environment will not be safe from these deadly polythene bags.
Mr Samuel Sekajjugo (Sells phones)
These polythene bags have been simplifying our work like packing and easy transportation. For example there are some things, which are very small like phones, there is no way you can pack a phone in a large box just because you don't have an alternative. This is funny, take an example of meat, we are again going back to the 80s where our parents used to buy meat in banana leaves.
Ms Evelyn Buwule (Businesswoman)
What (Nema) did was very okay and why not do away with these polythene bags? The environment has been greatly affected by the use of polythene bags. So the government should continue being strict in implementing its policies. However an alternative like the use of paper bags should be put into place.