Business, Finance & Economics

Uganda News: Kampala says no to plastic bags


Littering contributes to flood disasters. Here, Ugandan residents cross a flooded street on the road to Entebbe in the Namasuba neighborhood in Kampala after a heavy downpour earlier in the day. Heavy rains pounded the Ugandan capital early November 16, 2007 flooding homes and submerging vehicles only weeks after the region suffered the worst floods in decades.


Peter Busomoke

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kampala's new authorities are cleaning up the city, one plastic bag at a time.

A few years back there was a largely abortive attempt to ban the use of the thinnest plastic bags — ones that can hold no more than three tomatoes without breaking — but after some half-hearted attempts to fine people this was quietly abandoned.

By contrast, arriving at the main airport in neighbouring Rwanda plastic bags are searched for and confiscated like any other contraband.

Now, however, it seems the newly formed Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is stepping up to the plate.

KCCA's Peter Kawuju told the BBC that 40 people have been arrested for littering so far this year and some have been punished with community service, cleaning the plastic bags that frequently cause flooding out of the city's gutters.

"People drop litter anywhere; people drop litter in drainage channels and then what happens is that the channels get clogged, there's flooding and it's also very unhygienic," Kawuju told the BBC's Focus on Africa program.