Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell-branded fuels and lubricants in Uganda, together with National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda Breweries Limited, Stanbic Bank and Next Media Services yesterday partnered to promote sustainable environmental protection in a new educative campaign dubbed ‘Taasa Obutonde,’ which translates to ‘Let us save the environment.’
The campaign, which was launched at Namboole Stadium, is also in line with the year’s World Environment Day theme, which will be ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ – a call on world leaders and the populations to pay special focus on creating a good relationship with nature and to focus on preventing and reversing the loss of degraded natural ecosystems to fight the impacts of climate change.
Similarly, Taasa Obutonde seeks to promote environmental protection through targeted messages, documentaries and skits on television and online platforms to ensure greater awareness over a period of three years. In its first year, the campaign will focus its awareness on plastics and pollution. Studies estimate that in Uganda, an average of 1,500 tons of plastic waste is generated daily, with only 500 tons properly managed. This indicates a collection efficiency of 30%, implying that most of the waste generated is not safely recycled and goes into the environment.
Speaking at the launch event, the Vivo Energy Uganda Managing Director Mr Gilbert Assi said: “It has been proven that irresponsible use and disposal of plastics has far-reaching environmental and health risks to human and animal life. The Taasa Obutonde campaign will sensitize Ugandans about these dangers, create awareness about the safe disposal of plastics, aim to drive behavioral change on the use of plastics and suggest co-existing alternatives for daily use.”
Adding, “This in line with our Goal Zero ambition, which is our continuous commitment to ensure no harm to our people, assets and the environment. As an ISO 14001 certified company for Environment Management Systems, it is imperative that we run our business responsibly by prevention of environmental pollution and the adoption of more energy efficient and environmentally friendly retail sites countrywide. Similarly, we shall use this strong partnership to call our fellow Ugandans to action and to own up to the responsibility to restore and ensure that our environment is protected and sustained for the future.”
“We all have a responsibility to restore the natural world on which life depends. At Uganda Breweries, we are doing our bit by eliminating waste from our value chain, collaborating with farmers to regenerate landscapes and creating innovative solutions to grow sustainably. By 2030, we aim to achieve zero waste in our direct operations and zero waste to landfill throughout our supply chain. Similarly, 100% of our packaging will be widely recyclable with at least 60% made from recyclable material.”, said Uganda Breweries Limited MD, Alvin Mbugua.
“A Uganda free of plastic pollution is achievable, but only through a change in mindset can we achieve it. We need to wake up to the fact that what we term as a convenience when we choose plastics could end lives – ours, our children’s, our future generations. We at NBS Television, and Next Media Services at large, commit to telling this story – to making this information available to the masses daily with the hope that we shall change our behaviors to preserve our motherland.”, remarked Next Media CEO, Kin Kariisa.
“Stanbic Bank Uganda is proud to be a partner in a collaboration that will promote sustainable waste management of plastics to protect our environment and reduce pollution in our eco-systems. We continue to play a transformative role in Uganda’s economy and prioritize sustainable development through the implementation of our Social, Economic and Environmental framework.”, commented Stanbic Bank’s Head of Corporate Communications, Cathy Adengo.
She further added that “Stanbic supports waste management initiatives in communities and our aim is to work together with all partners in the private and public sector to encourage responsible plastic waste collection to increase capacity to collect, safely dispose and recycle plastic waste.” “Being great advocates of the UN Sustainable Development Goal, the Bank aims to do business the right way which means being aware of the indirect impact of our actions onto the societies we operate and future generation. If we want to preserve the environment we operate in and the time to act is now.” Ms. Adengo concluded.
The Guest of Honor at the event, National Environment Management Authority Executive Director, Dr Tom Okurut said: “Plastics are recognizably the most dominant waste in the country. As one of the measures to regulate plastics, the National Environment Act banned the manufacture and import of plastics under 30 microns. This is in addition to imposing a producer extended responsibility to ensure that producers of plastics manage their products from production to disposal. The management of the environment should not be considered as the duty of only the Government, or more specifically NEMA. Solutions to environmental problems require a multi-sectoral approach to solve and this campaign is an indicator that the private sector, civil society and Government are willing to work together to protect our environment.”
Plastics are a way of life for all Ugandans and yet a cancer to the environment that we rely on. Unfortunately, the general lack of adequate knowledge, resources and information, coupled with non-compliant manufacturers and a soft policy-making system, supports the unending use of harmful plastics.
The “Taasa Obutonde” campaign will unpack the dangers of the irresponsible use of plastics and the impact of the disposal on the environment, human and animal life. Through the campaign, that will air on NBS TV, every day, for a period of one year, as well as on Sanyuka TV, Salam TV, radio stations and on digital platforms, the partnership will aim to create awareness about the safe disposal of plastics while encouraging adoption of the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to encourage positive behavioral change and an overall slowdown in environmental degradation.