Uganda has enacted several plastic bag bans over the last 12 years, but inadequate implementation and opposition from manufacturers has limited their success. Now, the government is trying something new – a ban on plastic bags in schools.
As urbanization in Uganda grows, monkeys are being forced out of their natural habitats and are moving into human territory to search for food. Now, many residents are struggling to come to terms with the primate invasion.
The leader of the Bunyoro Kingdom leased thousands of hectares of forest land in the kingdom’s traditional land base to a sugar company – a move members of the kingdom say will help ease their poverty. But environmentalists say the kingdom has no right to lease the land, which is part of a protested forest.
Uganda’s fragile wetlands are government property, protected by environmental laws, but that hasn’t stopped farmers from living and growing crops on the land. The fertile land may seem irresistible, but this bounty can’t last, environmental officials warn.
Local governments will have a right to compensation from the revenue, and citizens will be entitled to seek redress for a polluted environment, says lawyer Patson Wilbroad Arinaitwe. He stresses the importance of regular environmental audits by the government and urges a requirement that companies monitor themselves, though the nation lacks a culture of enforcement and compliance.
Agriculture remains the most common job and primary income for most Ugandans, though climate change—exemplified in the 2016 drought that devastated crops and livestock—is challenging traditional farming techniques. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries has for years been training farmers in a variety of techniques to battle drought and erosion while increasing yields, and these trained farmers are now passing on their know-how to their compatriots.
Farming in wetlands erodes the land and threatens an important water source, but many farmers say they have no choice but to use the only land available to them to feed and support their families. Officials acknowledge these challenges, but hope that alternate urban gardens and permits for wetland gardens will help protect the land from further loss.
The quantity of large species of fish in the Ugandan waters of Lake Victoria is declining due to overfishing. The Ugandan government is using its armed forces and partnering with others to improve fish stocks, but critics say the government is not doing enough.
Uganda’s laws and occasional police raids have been inadequate in keeping children from working in artisanal gold mines, and as many as 30 percent of those who labor in that sector are children, according to one report. Health and other hazards abound, but some parents at the mines argue that children should be allowed to work with them, because they lighten the burden and help to provide vital income.