By AWORI ESTHER LUCY
KAMPALA-SHIFTMEDIA- The ‘battle’ against buveera (polythene bags and plastics) has been launched.
Stanbic Bank Uganda, Vivo Energy Uganda, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Breweries Limited and Next Media Services joined hands to promote sustainable environmental protection in a new educative campaign dubbed ‘Taasa Obutonde,’ which means ‘Let us save the environment.’
The campaign, which was launched at Namboole Stadium on Tuesday, is also in line with the year’s World Environment Day theme, which is ‘Ecosystem Restoration.
Taasa Obutonde seeks to promote environmental protection through targeted messages, documentaries, and skits on television and online platforms to ensure greater awareness over a period of three years.
The first year will see the campaign focus its awareness on plastics and pollution.
according to statistics, an average of 1,500 tonnes of plastic waste is generated daily, with only 500 tonnes properly managed. This indicates a collection efficiency of 30%, implying that most of the waste generated is not safely recycled and goes into the environment.
Speaking at the event, Stanbic Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Cathy Adengo said, “Stanbic Bank Uganda is proud to be a partner in a collaboration that will promote sustainable waste management of plastics to protect our environment and reduce pollution in our eco-systems. We continue to play a transformative role in Uganda’s economy and prioritize sustainable development through the implementation of our Social, Economic and Environmental framework.”
Adengo said further, “Stanbic supports waste management initiatives in communities and our aim is to work together with all partners in the private and public sector to encourage responsible plastic waste collection to increase capacity to collect, safely dispose and recycle plastic waste.”
“As strong advocates of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Bank aims to do business the right way which means being aware of the indirect impact of our actions onto the societies we operate and future generations. If we want to preserve the environment we operate in, we must act is now.” Ms. Adengo concluded.
Vivo Energy Uganda’s Managing Director, Mr Gilbert Assi said that irresponsible use and disposal of plastics has far-reaching environmental and health risks to human and animal life.
“The Taasa Obutonde campaign will sensitize Ugandans about these dangers, create awareness about the safe disposal of plastics, aim to drive behavioural change on the use of plastics, and suggest co-existing alternatives for daily use,” he said.
He said this was in line with their Goal Zero ambition, which is their continuous commitment to ensure no harm to people, assets, and the environment.
Uganda Breweries Limited MD, Alvin Mbugua said: “We all have a responsibility to restore the natural world on which life depends. At Uganda Breweries, we are doing our bit by eliminating waste from our value chain, collaborating with farmers to regenerate landscapes, and creating innovative solutions to grow sustainably. By 2030, we aim to achieve zero waste in our direct operations and zero waste to landfills throughout our supply chain. Similarly, 100% of our packaging will be widely recyclable with at least 60% made from recyclable material.”
Kin Kariisa the Next Media CEO said: “A Uganda free of plastic pollution is achievable, but only through a change in mindset can we achieve it. We need to wake up to the fact that what we term as a convenience when we choose plastics could end lives – ours, our children’s, our future generations. We at NBS Television, and Next Media Services at large, commit to telling this story – to making this information available to the masses daily with the hope that we shall change our behaviours to preserve our motherland.”
The National Environment Management Authority Executive Director, Dr. Tom Okurut described plastics as recognizably the most dominant waste in the country.
“As one of the measures to regulate plastics, the National Environment Act banned the manufacture and import of plastics under 30 microns. This is in addition to imposing a producer extended responsibility to ensure that producers of plastics manage their products from production to disposal,” said Okurut.
He said the management of the environment should not be considered as the duty of only the Government, or more specifically NEMA.
“Solutions to environmental problems require a multi-sectoral approach to solve and this campaign is an indicator that the private sector, civil society, and Government are willing to work together to protect our environment,” he said.
He said that much as plastics are a way of life for all Ugandans, they remain cancer to the environment that we rely on.
More about the campaigns
The “Taasa Obutonde” campaign will unpack the dangers of the irresponsible use of plastics and the impact of the disposal on the environment, human and animal life. Through the campaign, that will air on NBS TV, every day, for a period of one year, as well as on Sanyuka TV, Salam TV, radio stations, and on digital platforms, the partnership will aim to create awareness about the safe disposal of plastics while encouraging adoption of the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to encourage positive behavioural change and an overall slowdown in environmental degradation.