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Ugandans Agree on Clear Roadmap for a National instrument on Plastic pollution

Ugandans have called upon the government to consider the use of taxes to control plastic pollution in the country. The call was made during a dialogue organized by WWF to update stakeholders on the global plastics treaty process and prepare the country’s roadmap to embrace the treaty and put in place her own national regulations to address pollution.

The meeting was attended by representatives from young people, Uganda Manufactures Association, the Uganda Plastic Manufactures and recyclers association, the Parliamentary Committee of Environment and natural resources, the Women’s Movement, Government Agencies, Fiscal policy experts, Academia, CSO leaders, Traditional and Faith organizations, the media, among others.

Patience Nsereko,one of the regional experts currently supporting the African Group of negotiators developing the global instrument informed the meeting that while the recent Rising tides survey indicated that  Ugandan citizens are is support  for  strong global rules to end plastic pollution within an ambitious and comprehensive treaty, there is need for the Country to ready it self to ensure that the treaty works for us.

“Plastic pollution is suffocating our rivers and oceans, killing wildlife and contaminating our food, air and water. And it’s only getting worse. While this treaty is set to work for us, if we don’t get ready as a country, it will end up on the shelves as we continue to grapple with pollution”, she tipped.

Hon Emmanuel Otala, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary committee of Environment and Natural resources tasked WWF to conduct a national survey that will give to parliament accurate data that they can use to legislate on the matter.  He also tasked the stakeholders to support the Country’s negotiators in this global process to ensure that the stand of Ugandan’s is well articulated.

“However, am also inviting WWF and other stakeholders in the house to come and have a technical interface with the Parliamentary Committee on Environment so that we get a clear way forward on which policy direction we want to take as a Country”, he said.

Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group however challenged stakeholders to consider taxation as a way of addressing plastic pollution.

“The taxes levied on the equipment imported to support operations of recyclers impede environmental protection efforts. Additionally, there are no tax inceptives to the informal industry that is providing alternatives to the sector”, he said adding that there is need to engage with the tax process to map out a regime that will ensure steady transition towards a ban on single use plastics.

Nyamate Ireen, the Executive Director of Women for a green Economy pledged to mobilize Women actors to play a participatory role in the formulation of the national roadmap in view of the global treaty.

 women are mostly affected by environmental crises. Still, they're also a part of the solution as they take part in managing household consumption and waste. We are very excited that WWF has brought us on board and will ensure that our voice is heard in these processes.

According to the WWF Uganda Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communications Rita Kyategeka, the meeting put in place a clear roadmap that will guide stakeholders in both the global and national engagements.

“We are excited that we have been able to bring most of the key players in one room. Ours is to ensure that no one is left behind as this will produce instruments that all actors will be happy to engage with for humanity and nature to thrive”, she said.

The Country Director of WWF Ivan Tumuhimbise, in his remarks called on stakeholders to act now as we are running out of time to address plastic pollution which is a major threat to our biodiversity.
© Happy Ali
National Working Group on Plastic Pollution