By Frank Lukwago, New Vision/NECJOGHA
Jinja, Uganda – The European Union (EU) delegation has partnered with Jinja municipality to clean up Masese landing site in the eastern Uganda district of Jinja.
The EU delegation led by the EU ambassador to Uganda, Atilio Pacifici, was accompanied by Jinja Mayor Majid Batambuze. The team cleaned up the landing site in commemoration of the international coastal clean-up day. This is intended to create awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution in water bodies.
Three years ago, the EU set out an international ocean governance agenda, for the future of oceans and large water bodies, proposing actions for safe, secure and clean sustainably managed water bodies around the world.
While officiating the function, Collins Olaya, the director of environmental affairs in the environment ministry, said littering water bodies calls for immediate action by all stake holders. Olaya represented environment state minister Mary Kitutu.
In her speech read by Olaya, Kitutu said plastics were adversely affecting lakes, rivers and marine organisms and had accumulated and become a major challenge in addition to some traditional beliefs that water bodies have the capacity to dissolve all wastes.
She said it had been reported that communities around water bodies do not construct sanitary facilities and ease themselves in the water.
“Communities should start acting responsibly to avoid pollution of water bodies in a bid to transit to a blue economy in a country with stringent measures to prevent littering of water bodies,” she said.
Kitutu said there was a lot of untapped potential, especially in ecotourism but cannot be exploited when the environment is littered.
She said the government, through the tourism ministry, had prepared a master plan aimed at turning the Source of the Nile into a world tourist destination and that Masese beach was part of the plan.
She stressed that the revised National Environmental Act of 2019 prohibits littering under section 97.
Kitutu hailed the EU for their initiative, saying it will contribute awareness among communities to stop littering important natural resources.
She challenged the local leaders and private partners to take the lead in mobilizing communities to clean up beaches and also live in a healthy environment.
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