By Guest Writer
OPINION: Despite the fact that Uganda keeps on celebrating World Environmental Events such as Earth Day, Wetlands Day, and World Environment Day, no big scores have been registered because environmental degradation, swamp reclamation, and plastic pollution are the order of the day, yet the government has many authorities to make sure that these areas of national importance are protected.
As we are still on the theme of solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution for the World Environment Day Celebrations,the responsible government authorities and line ministries must be in a position to put in extra efforts to ensure that the communities in every corner of the country are sensitized and taught on the roles they can play towards beating this plastic pollution problem.
Plastic pollution simply means the accumulation of plastic objects and particulars in Earth’s environment that cause great complexity for all the species dwelling on Planet Earth.
The continuous dumping of plastic waste into the wetlands and rivers will cause the wetlands to lose their value, yet they are thought of as biological superstores and wealth lands.
As they are sources of fish, firewood, medicine, hydropower, and recreation. Further, they also help in the provision of ecosystem services such as water purification, flood control, and climate moderation, which could enhance environmental quality and promote public health.
It is good that on World Environment Day, the government of Uganda pledged to re-embark on the plastic ban, and I believe that the action would be effective if taken now to save wetlands that are disappearing now and then because of human encroachment and plastic pollution.
Research shows that five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually, and people use about 1.2 million plastic bottles per minute, which take 1000 years to totally decompose.
I therefore demand all the manufacturing companies reduce their plastic production since plastic pollution is choking our topmost ecosystems, such as wetlands and rivers.
The few used plastics should also be collected to ensure that they are converted into new ones to protect our environment from plastic pollution and any other degradation.
I also call upon us, the end users, to either reduce the amount of plastic purchased while buying things or to re-use the purchased ones for other purposes. For instance, we can re-use one polythene bag several times without throwing it away.
The Rwenzori water bottle or any other plastic bottle can be re-used for other multi-purposes, for instance, keeping cooking oil or liquid soap, among others. In other words, the plastic packages can be substituted with cloth bags or glass bottles that are re-usable and, at the same time, environmentally friendly.
Lastly, the habit of burning plastics should also stop because they release toxic chemicals that are dangerous to our health and the animal species that live in ecosystems such as wetlands and forests, among others, as they cause severe irritation to the eyes and nose and, in the end, result in cancer and other related diseases.
The author is Hildah Nsimiire, a researcher at the African Institute for Energy Governance.
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