Of all the times the government tried to implement the kaveera ban, this time (April 15) seems to have been the most effective so far. Most of the big supermarkets in the country, and even in those in the suburbs now use paper bags, used boxes and cloth bags to pack items.
Some of the common “take-aways” have also done the same and use cloth bags to pack the packs of food. This is a step in the right direction.
In 2009, the government announced a ban on kaveera.
At that time, the manufacturers asked for a grace period, so the ban was on kaveera below 30 microns as traders found a way to get rid of stock and perhaps start looking for alternatives. That is where it unfortunately ended. The actual implementation did not happen.
Six years later, Nema once again launched the implementation of the ban and there seems to be some success so far. What is good to note is that the main users of the kaveera, those who sell items and need kaveera to package, as well as their customers, are in support.
Judging from news stories, many people have welcomed the idea, and this is a good thing. The website, conservingnow.com gives the reasons as to how plastic bags affect the environment.
They do not decompose and become part of the natural earth. Instead, they photodegrade, that is, break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest them, affecting their health and lifespan.
Secondly, a plastic bag can take between 400 to 1,000 years to break down in the environment. So it will stay around, moving from one place to another, blocking waterways, and choking animals.
Thirdly, nearly 90 per cent of the debris in the oceans is plastic – meaning sea animals are also affected.
In addition to that, a report from Makerere University’s School of Food Technology Nutrition and Bio-engineering noted that food cooked in polythene bags could cause cancer since heat accumulates metals, which can cause development of cancer, organ damage, nervous system breakdown and in extreme cases, death.
These are all the reason why we should support this ban and encourage the responsible government arms to complete the implementation.