Kampala’s plastic disposal and management crisis, a question of responsibility

By Mahad Baryamujura |
Kampala’s plastic disposal and management crisis, a question of responsibility

Apparent like the scarcity of green cover in this vast city, the plastic disposal and management crisis in Kampala remains a puzzle yet to be solved. 

Users have continuously found convenience in dumping plastic on streets and elsewhere, just like authorities have neither taken responsibility to sufficiently enforce proper disposal of plastic nor effected means for thorough management of that which is already disposed.

The question of responsibility is thus left for trial and environmental-sanity on the streets of Kampala remains desired. By each passing day, the crisis worsens, the plastic increases and so does the burden to manage the same.

A 2023 report by Greenwatch titled ‘Preliminary Assessment of the Laws on Plastics and their Enforcement in Uganda’ denotes Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) having the obligation of waste management in Kampala by virtue of laws governing its establishment and as well, by virtue of it being a local authority. The governing authority is therefore not short of mandate, what can be questioned is its will and implementation drawn from its performance that is unworthy of praise.

However, beyond the KCCA are government agencies obligated to oversee proper waste management, that being their responsibility, the question as well becomes one of implementation, for instance, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is mandated with coordinating and monitoring environmental management in Uganda. Undoubtably, where the KCCA has failed in plastic disposal and management, NEMA has equally failed in its responsibility of coordinating KCCA to perform the said duties.

Does the failure of authorities thus imply the responsibility falls back to all occupiers of Kampala? perhaps that of waste management does not. Reasonably, that of proper plastic disposal is one to be worn as a badge of honor. It is a moral and legal responsibility; Poor disposal of plastic could tantamount to a violation of other people’s rights to enjoy a clean and healthy environment as enshrined under Article 39 of Uganda’s 1995 constitution.

And what is worse, is the failure by all to act cognizant of the short- and long-term adverse effects of continuous poor plastic disposal on both human and wildlife.

Image Credit: International Energy Agency