Local Water and Environment

Improper Disposal of Non-Decaying Materials Threatens Kasese’s Land and Environment

BY ROBERT KYEYA

Kasese district is currently facing a severe problem with the improper disposal of non-decaying materials, primarily plastics and polythene bags. The increasing consumption of manufactured products has contributed to the accumulation of these waste materials, leading to an alarming situation that poses a threat to the district’s land and environment.

A recent survey conducted by our reporter highlighted the widespread presence of polythene bags, plastic materials, and scrap metal cuttings in the area. The indiscriminate disposal of these non-decaying materials has raised concerns about their adverse impact on nature.

Dr. Joy Muhindo, the Kasese Municipality Health Officer, expressed her worry over the alarming behavior of improper waste disposal. She warned that if this issue is not addressed promptly, the district may face serious calamities in the near future. Burning plastic and polythene bags, a common practice in the area, emits toxic gases that are dangerous to human health.

Furthermore, plastics often block drainage channels, leading to flooding in homesteads and the destruction of nearby social services. Plastics can persist for more than 100 years without decaying, making them a long-lasting environmental hazard. When plastics find their way into rivers and lakes in the district, they gradually produce bioplastics that are ingested by aquatic life. Eventually, these poisoned fish end up being consumed by humans, posing a health risk to the population.

Kasese district has a population of approximately 2 million people, making it imperative to address this issue promptly. The effects of consuming fish from contaminated lakes could lead to the spread of diseases among a significant number of residents.

Asanairi Bukanywa, the Agricultural Officer for Kasese Municipality, emphasized the harmful effects of non-decaying materials on soil quality. Plastics and polythene bags hinder water penetration into the soil, leading to adverse consequences for agriculture and the environment.

Bukanywa suggested utilizing non-decayed materials for multiple functions, such as using cut bottles as containers for planting crops or employing polythene peppers in similar ways. He also recommended.

Kasese Municipal Agricultural Officer, Asanairi Bukanywa speaking to Journalists. Photo By Robert Kyeya.

“bottle irrigation,” which involves filling plastic materials with water and fixing them onto growing plants, particularly perennial crops.

To address this pressing issue, Bukanywa proposed implementing a government charge against anyone found scattering non-decaying materials. Additionally, he urged the local community of Kasese district to collect such materials and send them to a composite waste site near Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Mayor Chance Kahindo stated that Kasese district intends to implement the parliament’s resolution, prohibiting the improper disposal of plastic bottles. The municipal council also plans to encourage takeaway food vendors to use disposable plates and purchase litterbins for every street in town to facilitate proper waste disposal.

Local vendors in Kasese town acknowledged the urgent need to address the increasing plastic waste and suggested placing litterbins at every shop to encourage responsible disposal.

Public Litterbin in Kasese Municipality for rubbish dumping. Photo By Robert Kyeya.

Benson Bwambale, a consultant and director for Giraffe Adventures, an environmental organization, called upon distributing companies to take measures to collect their plastic bottles for recycling. Companies like Coca-Cola, Riham, Novida, Rwenzori Water, and Aqua Sip are among those distributing non-decaying materials.

Bwambale urged communities to actively participate in reducing the disposal of non-decaying materials to prevent negative impacts, such as climate change and decreased rainfall.

The Ministry of Water and Environment has been advocating for environmental conservation in Uganda. The country has already experienced the effects of global warming, temperature changes, prolonged droughts, non-communicable diseases, and the extinction of certain species. It is crucial for all Ugandans, including non-governmental organizations, to raise awareness and promote environmental conservation practices to mitigate these issues.

Without swift intervention from the government, the aforementioned problems will continue to escalate, jeopardizing the future of the nation. It is essential to prioritize environmental protection and take proactive measures to ensure a sustainable future for Uganda.

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