Uganda Breweries yesterday announced a partnership with Vivo Energy Uganda together with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Stanbic Bank to promote sustainable environmental protection in a new educative campaign dubbed ‘TaasaObutonde,’ which means ‘Let us save the environment.’
The campaign, which was launched at Namboole Stadium, is also in line with the year’s World Environment Day theme – ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ – a call on world leaders and the populations to pay special focus on creating a good relationship with nature and to focus on preventing and reversing the loss of degraded natural ecosystems to fight the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the launch event, the Vivo Energy Uganda Managing Director Mr. Gilbert Assi said: “It has been proven that irresponsible use and disposal of plastics has far-reaching environmental and health risks to human and animal life. The TaasaObutonde campaign will sensitize Ugandans about these dangers, create awareness about the safe disposal of plastics, aim to drive behavioral change on the use of plastics and suggest co-existing alternatives for daily use.”
Studies estimate that in Uganda, 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.
“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,” said Alvin Mbugua, Managing Director of Uganda Breweries Limited.
TaasaObutonde 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. In its first year, the campaign will focus its awareness on plastics and pollution.
“The situation is dire and needs immediate action and attention. The rate of solid waste generation in Kampala alone was 3,206 tons per day in 2015 and is expected to increase to 4,739 tons per day by 2030. At least 51% of plastic garbage in Kampala is left uncollected and even then less than 10% of plastic waste is recycled,” Mbugua added.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Dr. Tom Okurut said that 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 added, “Plastics are 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. The management of the environment should not be considered as the duty of only the Government.”
Plastics are a way of life for all Ugandans and yet cancer to the environment that we rely on. Unfortunately, the general lack of adequate knowledge, resources, and information, coupled with non-compliant manufacturers and a soft policy-making system, supports the unending use of harmful plastics.