Govt Bans Use of Plastic Bags in Schools, Universities Effective This Year

School going children participating in a campaign against plastic bags during the 2018 World Environment Day.

Government has banned the use of plastic bags popularly known in Uganda as ‘kavera’ in schools, universities and other tertiary institutions with effect from First Term which opens in February.

The ban was communicated through a circular issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports to all heads of educational institutions in October of last year. The circular titled ‘Enforcement of kavera ban in educational institutions in Uganda’ makes reference to the Finance Act 2009 and its Regulations which banned use of plastic bags in consideration of the human health and the environment.

Section 4 of that same law specifically prohibits the importation, sale, use and distribution of plastic carrier except plastic woven bags for the packaging and conveyance of goods and other plastics for exceptional uses including agriculture, construction, medical, research and industrial packaging.

As such, the Ministry of Education has directed the head teachers and other institution heads to implement the ban effective the beginning of the school calendar.

“The purpose of this circular is to request that effective 1st term of the School Calendar 2019 you implement the ban by stopping the use of kavera on your premises,” the circular which was signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Alex Kakooza, reads in part.

“You are encouraged to adopt alternative ways like paper bags, kikapu and kibbo (baskets). These alternatives would in turn support the women craft industry,” adds the Ministry.

Government has warned that heads of these institutions of learning who will not abide by the directive will personally be held liable for the breach.

In 2015, government through the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) resumed the implementation of the ban under the Finance Act 2009 but the process of enforcement was later dragged by some policy related overlaps.

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