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Bunyoro Kingdom tasks oil companies on plastic pollution

Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has tasked oil companies operating in the region to put in place policies to ensure the conservation, and protection of the environment especially the fight against plastic pollution.

Phillip Katahoire, the Kingdom’s Minister for External Relations says that the disposal, waste management, and recycling system of plastic waste remains inefficient yet plastics cause a big threat to humans and the environment. He added that proper attention needs to be given to the conservation of the environment during all stages of oil exploration.

According to Katahoire, human activities often undermine and overexploit nature leading to forest degradation, pollution of crucial water bodies, and destruction of precious wetlands without adequately considering the associated consequences including biodiversity loss, famine, and limited access to safe water.

He was officiating at the Oil and gas sector’s World Environment Day at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima

Wang Hai Yong, from CNOOC Ugandan Limited, says conservation and protection of the environment is crucial in the oil and gas sector adding that there is a need to stop plastic pollution through ensuring sensitization of project contractors and staff.

Yong explains that plastic waste is linked to a wide range of human health problems stemming from soil, air, and water contamination adding that it results in the death of livestock, wildlife, and marine life due to digestive system blockage.  He says currently CNOOC is undertaking various programs aimed at restoring biodiversity within the project area of influence.

Benson Chiche, the Hoima District Vice Chairperson says government and the oil companies must be at the forefront of tree planting in the region.

Sylvia Nalumaga, the Deputy Mayor of Hoima Oil City says plastic waste alone contributes to 80 per cent of the entire garbage collected in the city. She observes a need to mobilize and sensitize people in the Bunyoro sub-region on the proper disposal of plastic waste and other materials.

She attributes the trend to rapid Urbanization, lack of appropriate facilities for plastic management, and the ever-growing population flocking to the area to work in the oil and gas sector.

Amos Mwase, the Deputy Director of Health, Safety, Security & Environment at TotalEnergies EP which operates the Tilenga oil project says that they are operating their activities in an Environmentally viable manner. He says that all necessary regulatory, environmental, and health safety measures have been put in place to minimize the potential negative impacts of oil activities on the environment.

Isaac Ntujju, from National Environment Management Authority-NEMA, calls on oil companies to be at the forefront of tree planting campaigns in the Albertine in order to conserve the environment given the oil activities.

He says oil companies should desist from activities that degrade the environment tasking them to develop a robust plastic waste management plan to avert any environmental destruction in their areas of operations.