City's Nuisance turned gold

Plastic is a nuisance after use, especially if there are no guidelines of how to dispose it off. In developed countries there are special containers and in some places you are paid to dispose of your glass and plastic. In Kampala the capital city of Uganda receives about 600 tons of disposed of plastic every day, which ends up in sewage systems and littering the city (National Environment Management Authority) adding to the uncollected garbage which ends in manholes, drainage channels, on the road side and natural water courses. Which is normally dumped during night fall in slum areas, leading to flooding in those areas and the city as most of the water channels running through the city originate from slum areas. 
Source: Waqt News
The government once threatened banning packed water if the producers didn’t ensure proper disposal of used bottles by the Minister of Water and Environment in 2009. Coca Cola is the only company that has complied by setting seven plastic waste collection centres in the whole of Uganda. Plastic does not degrade like organic garbage and hence not supporting life in the soil where dumped. Places with plastic are not fit for agricultural production. Polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastic emits gases like carbon monoxide they are found in bottles, drain pipes, sewage pipes e.t.c. furans and dioxin are leading to cancer and respiratory diseases when burnt.

Source: New vision
The problem has been tackled head on by collecting the used and improperly disposed of plastic for recycling through plastic waste management for cash. In 2010 one plant was operational, now we have more than 15 plastic recycling plants in Uganda, most of them in Kampala the centre of the problem. A need for partnership is that most of the plants operate below capacity due to the limited technology like the specialized film washing line missing in most of the plants. Recycling has given employment to youths who collect the used plastic for money i.e. 250 to 1,000 UGX SHS per kg which depends on the type of plastic. Some are organized and supported into community based collectors by Living Earth Uganda a local branch of an international natural resources management nonprofit organization. 

Source: Waqt News
Plastic bottles are used as bricks for building, a practice that is being taken up in South America, Africa and Asia. There are many other uses for plastic bottles only limited to someone imagination and inventing capability. 


By Kateregga Dennis, BA(ECON), Dip. IEL 
Consultant

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