I am pleased to share a recent victory from Uganda, a country I called home before joining ELAW in 1999.

After 10 years fighting the scourge of micro-thin plastic bags, ELAW partner Kenneth Kakuru and his team at Greenwatch are celebrating victory.

The High Court of Kampala ruled on Friday that plastic bags, commonly referred to as “kaveera,” violate the right of citizens to a clean and healthy environment.  The Court ordered that a bill be drafted “expeditiously” to regulate the use of all plastics less than 100 microns.

When I lived in Kampala, I worked at the Uganda Wildlife Society where I trained a local team to publish NatureWatch, an educational supplement inserted in Uganda’s daily newspaper, The New Vision.  This project was funded by the U.K.’s Darwin Initiative.

My team at NatureWatch toured a local kaveera factory.  We were amazed to see polythene spun into threads and quickly become thousands of kaveera.  Sadly, these inexpensively produced one-use micro thin bags tear easily and are quickly tossed, becoming an environmental menace for years and years.  They litter the landscape, clog roadside culverts, get stuck in trees, and kill cows that eat them.

That was 13 years ago.

I am pleased that ELAW has helped Greenwatch make progress tackling this menace.  Kenneth says:

“Most of the scientific information contained in the pleadings to substantiate the arguments was obtained from ELAW.  This is a major milestone in the environment landscape in Uganda considering the menace that polythene bags have caused over time.  Scientific Information from ELAW and judgments from other jurisdictions where ELAW partners operate have continuously been of great help to Greenwatch winning major court battles in Uganda.”

Kenneth and Greenwatch are an inspiration to ELAW partners around the world working to rid the environment of one-use plastic bags.  Congratulations Kenneth!

Maggie Keenan
ELAW Communications Director &
Fellows Program Coordinator