9 February 2018

Uganda: Kira Residents Reject Plastics Industry Project

Kampala — A section of residents of Bulindo cell, Kira ward in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District have rejected plans by Global Paints proprietor, Mr Steven Kayiwa to set-up a plastics industry in the area.

The residents argue that the factory would expose them to health hazards.

They insist that the developer of the said land should stick to the initial plan of putting up a Warehouse and shops instead of a manufacturing industry.

Some of the residents who preferred anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter told Daily Monitor yesterday, that despite petitioning the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) last year, there are signs that the developer is planning ahead to establish an industry.

The residents say the industry will cause noise and air pollution, and that their area is only gazzetted for residential houses. "The factory should be taken to the industrial area in Namanve, there is enough space and the environment there is set for such developments and investments," one of the residents said.

Last year, the concerned residents petitioned the Kira Municipal Council authorities and Nema separately, asking for intervention after they saw some machines being installed in the would-be warehouse.

"We find this change of heart from storage to production unacceptable to the extent that we cannot accept to be subjected to noise and other pollution that come from that activity as neighbours who already have approved plans from the same Local Municipality as residential property surrounding Mr Kayiwa," the petition seen by Daily Monitor reads in part.

In this September 29, 2017 petition, the concerned residents asked the Kira Municipal council authorities to explain to them how the proposed industry will meet the "necessary scientific" and environmental impacts to a residential area.

Also in October last year, the residents petitioned Nema calling for intervention after allegedly failing to get a clear answer from the municipal authorities.

On January 9, the environment authority wrote to Mr Kayiwa saying they had rejected his request to set up a plastics manufacturing industry hence asking him to stop activities and identify an alternative site for that project.

"Review of the PB (Project Brief) has been concluded and an inspection of the proposed site was undertaken, as well as consultation with communities. The review of the PB and findings of the inspection indicate that the proposed activity is out of character with its surroundings," the letter signed by Mr George Lubega Matovu, on behalf of Nema executive director Dr Tom Okurut reads in part.

Nema also faulted the developer for installing some machinery at the plant before the Project Brief is approved, an action that is contrary to National Environmental Act, Cap 153, and the conditions of approval issued by the Authority for the warehouses.

"The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you that the environmental aspects of the proposed Plastic Products Manufacturing Plant have not been approved and you are hereby required to; stop all activities at the plant and remove all unauthorised equipment installed in the warehouse," adds the letter.

Yesterday, Mr Kayiwa told Daily Monitor on phone that he does not plan to establish a manufacturing plant but a warehouse and a show room for paints products.

He also alleged that his project is under "witch-hunt" from some of the residents. "These are stores not a factory. I know some of the residents who are pushing this to appear in the newspapers and this is witch-hunting. My brother witch-hunting is not good at all because my plan remains for stores and shops," Mr Kayiwa said.

He, however, confirmed that there will be a meeting at the site today but declined to explain what its agenda.

Daily Monitor has learnt that the meeting will involve officials from Nema, local leaders, the developer and residents to resolve the impasse over the project.

The Bulindo Local Council One chairperson, Mr Ronald Kayemba, confirmed to Daily Monitor yesterday that there has been a standoff with residents over the nature of project.


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