By Our Reporter
Kampala: To tackle climate change, the Environment Parliament has issued a call for a substantial increase in investment in waste disposal research.
The inaugural sitting on Friday, 26 May 2023, at Parliament, brought together young people, policymakers, environmental scientists, concerned individuals and Members of Parliament to explore viable solutions to environmental challenges in the country, with a particular focus on waste disposal.
The session was chaired by the Environment Parliament Speaker, Robert Turyakira, an environmental and climate activist.
During the sitting, Professor John Kaddu, the board chairperson of the Climate Change Adaptation Innovation (CHAI), emphasised the urgency of investing in research to develop sustainable and efficient waste management solutions.
Kaddu highlighted the existing challenges associated with the current waste disposal systems, including air, water, and soil pollution. These challenges not only harm the environment and compromise ecosystems but also pose risks to public health.
“Climate disasters and waste management are intricately linked, demanding a concerted effort to invest in data generation to inform policy action,” Kaddu stated.
Kaddu further acknowledged the positive impact of private entities’ involvement in waste collection, particularly in the capital, Kampala. However, he pointed out that the volume of waste generated exceeds the capacity of the available collection vehicles, necessitating additional resources to effectively manage the escalating waste production.
Hon. Jacinta Atuto, the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Climate Change in Parliament, echoed the call for funding in waste disposal, emphasising that inadequate waste management directly contributes to disasters and exacerbates climate change.
Atuto, also Kapelebyong District Woman Representative, cited the overcrowded Kampala City, where waste is scattered across the streets, obstructing drainage systems.
To address these waste management challenges, Atuto revealed that the committee has devised measures, including decommissioning the Kitezi landfill and providing support to small enterprises engaged in waste income-generating activities.
“The Government should review and streamline waste management and recycling policies, enhancing their implementation,” recommended Atuto.
“Furthermore, the government needs to intensify waste management campaigns and public education on proper waste handling and disposal,” she added.
Diana Kibuuka, a media personality who covers environmental issues, drew attention to the problem of waste disposal in Lake Victoria, highlighting encroachments on wetlands and widespread dumping as major concerns. She emphasised the need to protect wetlands and called for efforts to educate fishermen on responsible waste disposal, discouraging them from abandoning their tools in the water.
Expressing her concern, Hon. Linda Auma, the Lira District Woman MP, lamented the inadequacy of environmental laws that have enabled the continued destruction of the environment.
Hon. Miriam Mukhaye, the Mbale District Woman Representative, highlighted the profound impact of climate change on the Bugisu sub-region.
Referring to the 23 May 2023 landslides in Bulambuli District that killed over six people, Mukhaye called for robust mitigation policies to ensure the safety and well-being of all citizens in the face of such tragedies.
Prior to the afternoon sitting, the stakeholders held a seminar that was opened by David Ivan Masajjage, Assistant Director for Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament.