The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has initiated a crackdown on passenger service vehicles (PSVs) that lack dustbins. NEMA’s move is part of its broader anti-litter campaign.
As part of this crackdown, NEMA’s enforcement officers will conduct surprise inspections along highways. Any PSV found without a dustbin will be subject to the newly introduced express penalty scheme.
NEMA’s Executive Director, Dr. Akankwasa Barirega, emphasized the importance of this initiative. He stated, “Littering is against the law and can lead to court fines of up to shs12 million. To enforce this law, we have begun spot checks targeting buses, taxis, and other public service vehicles lacking dustbins. These spot checks will occur nationwide.”
According to the National Environment Management Act of 2019, littering can result in fines of up to shs12 million in court. NEMA has recently introduced an express penalty scheme for violators of this act.
Dr. Akankwasa explained that individuals, especially drivers caught violating this law, will have the option to pay a shs6 million express penalty instead of going to court. He stated, “We introduced the express penalty scheme for those who prefer not to waste time in court. If you are apprehended without a dustbin in your car, you can pay the shs6 million fine and be on your way.”
NEMA had initially suspended its operation to crack down on PSVs without dustbins to provide the public with ample preparation time. Dr. Akankwasa announced that the grace period has now ended, and they are moving forward with full-scale enforcement.
He emphasized, “We will arrest and prosecute anyone found littering. Public passenger vehicles without dustbins will also be impounded. We have already educated public transport managers by visiting bus and taxi parks. They requested a one-month grace period, and we extended the start of the operation from April to May to accommodate their preparations. At this point, there is no excuse for not having a waste receptacle in public passenger vehicles.”
NEMA’s Anti-Litter and Waste Management Campaign
During the campaign launch at Lukaya highway market, Dr. Akankwasa highlighted that the campaign, dubbed ‘Yonja Uganda,’ aims to raise awareness and engage vendors, government officials, and the public in sustainable waste management practices.
He explained, “If we neglect hygiene, it will adversely affect the environment, which in turn impacts us. For instance, when we use plastic bags (Kaveera) and dispose of them improperly in the soil, it can harm animals that ingest it. If Kaveera is thrown into drainage systems, it can contribute to flooding. With this campaign, we intend to educate the public about responsible waste management.”
“Our mission is to empower more people to protect the environment by educating them about best practices.”
During the campaign launch, Paddy Kayondo, the Kalungu Resident District Commissioner (RDC), commended NEMA for involving the public in their awareness efforts. He believed this approach would encourage everyone to fulfill their roles effectively.
Kayondo expressed optimism, saying, “I am pleased that NEMA has taken its message to the grassroots. When these individuals see you, perhaps they will learn a thing or two and apply these practices in their homes. I am confident that this campaign will change people’s perceptions about good environmental practices.”
He mentioned that some villages in the district had experienced floods in the past due to improper waste disposal, emphasizing that education campaigns like these could alter such behaviors over time.
As part of the event, NEMA donated dustbins to the leadership of Lukaya highway market to ensure proper litter disposal.