4 September 2018

Uganda: Nema Tightens Waste Disposal Rules in New Bill

Kampala — The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has drafted a new law that seeks, among other things, to streamline waste management, with a provision requiring factories that generate waste to subject their employees to annual medical checks.

The National Environment Bill, 2017, which is before Parliament , if passed, will repeal and replace the National Environment Act.

In a draft Bill seen by this newspaper, Nema sets procedures on disposal of waste at landfill, e-waste, littering, domestic and industrial waste.

The Bill also requires that manufacturers of some products will be required to take back products at the end of their life cycle.

"The responsibility for take-back extends to a product steward who imports, distributes or sells a substance, a preparation or other product," the Bill, which also mandates Local Governments to collect e-waste at a fee or provide incentives for the same, states.

The Bill lists products that may be taken back to include consumer goods past shelf life, off specification products, products that are no longer needed by the user, discontinued products; prohibited products, glass, plastics, ceramics and associated waste; and electrical and electronic products destined for disposal.

The Bill also outlaws dumping of e-wastes such as phones, refrigerators or computers in landfills or unauthorised places.

"If e-equipment is sold or delivered through a channel outside of the shop premises, including by mail order or via the internet, the product steward shall establish an effective system for the return of similar quantities of e-waste or more, if there is extra capacity to do so, for same product ranges and having the same functions as the products sold or distributed by the product steward," the Bill adds.

Also, the proposed law prohibits a waste handler to landfill - liquid waste, flammable waste, explosive or reactive waste, electrical and electronic waste, infectious healthcare waste, radioactive or corrosive waste and all non-biodegradable plastics such as carrier bags.

Other wastes such as glass, tyres and waste from research and education facilities will require approval from Nema before being discarded.

Currently, there are many landfills in flood areas, but the Bill outlaws contamination of water.

Last Friday, at the East African Waste Management Conference in Kampala, Ms Christine Akello, the deputy executive director of Nema, said the Bill will outlaw plastics use just as it is in Kenya and Rwanda.

Former MP and environmentalist Ken Lukyamuzi said the proposed law is good since the future of different water bodies, including Lake Victoria and River Nile are facing serious pollution.

Mr Lawrence Songa, the Ora County MP, also an environmental activist, asked investors to turn garbage generated in Kampala to energy use.

Uganda

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