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  • Andy Teale

5 Ways Plastic Waste is Ruining Uganda



Over 600 tonnes of plastic is disposed of every day in Uganda. As there are no formal waste management systems to process this waste, the majority of it ends up being burnt, buried or dumped.


Since 2017, we've been working hard to change this. In partnership with 3,000 local plastic collectors, we've recycled 850 tonnes of plastic across the districts of Masaka and Kalangala. However, there's still a long way to go to fully tackle Uganda's huge plastic problem.


Therefore, to help raise awareness about the negative effects of plastic pollution on Uganda, we produced this video where you can learn about 5 ways mismanaged plastic is hurting the country.


Watch the video here.


 

1. Burning plastic threatens people's health

Sadly, due to a lack of options and education about the dangers of burning plastic, many people dispose of plastic this way. It's common to see this happening in public spaces in Uganda, which poses a significant danger to people's health as the fumes can cause respiratory issues and cancer.


2. Dumped plastic is polluting waterways & food chains

A significant amount of unmanaged plastic waste ends up in Uganda's streams, rivers and lakes. Unfortunately, we see this frequently on the shore of Lake Victoria where we operate, which is suffocating in plastic waste. Furthermore, the plastic gradually breaks down into microplastic particles, which contaminate food chains - it's estimated that a person consumes 50,000 of these microparticles each year!


3. Uganda's cattle & wildlife consume plastic waste

A staggering 60% of stray cattle in Uganda die every year from consuming plastic, which is likely to continue whilst the majority of plastic waste goes untreated. Likewise, plastic is often dumped in the countryside as well, threatening wildlife.


4. Untreated plastic provides a breeding ground for Malaria

Uganda has the 6th highest rate of malaria in Africa, which means many of its mosquitos carry the disease. The surface of abandoned plastic provides an ideal breeding ground for these insects, and one plastic bottle can carry up to 150 eggs. Therefore, mismanaged plastic hinders the country's efforts to tackle this disease and save lives.


5. Buried plastic damages crop yields & plants

Plastic dumped and buried in the soil ruins irrigation and prevents water from reaching plants and crops, damaging them. As a large portion of Uganda's economy is based on agriculture, this simultaneously damages the livelihoods of many farmers, the economy and the population's food supplies.


You can learn more about Uganda's plastic problem by watching our video here.


 

Sadly, these are just some of the ways that plastic pollution is harming Uganda, which is why we're currently fundraising to expand our recycling model to new districts of Uganda, such as Mbarara, Mabale and Fort Portal. This will help us to recycle 190 tonnes of plastic per month, whilst creating a further 2,000 green jobs for marginalised people.








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