ENVIRONMENT: The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has suspended it plans to impound vehicles with no dustbins but will continue to enforce its provisions of the National Environment Act, 2019 by impounding only vehicles littering waste.
In a Press Statement released on Friday evening by the Executive Director Barirega Akankwasah, NEMA said operations will commence as planned on saturday 1st April 2023 across the country but only targeting vehicles littering garbage not those without dustbins.
On 8th February 2023, NEMA announced plans to enforce provisions of the National Environment Act, 2019 and various regulations in relation to various offences including developments without Environment and Social Impact Assessment, Failure to conduct Environment Audits, breach of conditions of NEMA certificates, littering, noise, encroachment of wetlands, riverbanks, lakeshores, pollution, plastics below 30 microns among others.
Implementation encompasses sensitization and awareness through outreach, arrest and prosecution of offenders and issuance of administrative fines pursuant to section 172 of the National Environment Act, 2019.
However, in a meeting held on Friday 31st March 2023 between NEMA and Public transporters federation led by their chairperson Mr. Rashid Ssekindi, the Public transporters requested for additional time to install trash bins/ bags in their vehicles.
“We have accordingly given them a grace period of 30 days to install trash bins/bags to prevent littering from public vehicles. The enforcement teams are hereby notified accordingly that nobody should to arrested or fined for having no trash bin/bag during the period of 30 days starting 1st April 2023. However, during this grace period, public or private vehicles found littering will be impounded and owners prosecuted in accordance with the law.” NEMA said in a statement.
On Thursday March 30th, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) challenged this move on grounds that it is not rooted in any law.
ULS President Bernard Oundo in a letter to the NEMA Executive Director, questioned which law was based on to prescribe as an offence, the lack of a dustbin in a vehicle.