Flooding across Kampala on rainy mornings is very much about poor disposal of plastics as it is about the heavy rains, not just the latter. Debris from fabrics, personal care products, packaging and other everyday plastics is blocking the otherwise useful waterways. It is high time we binned our rubbish right or swam to work on such mornings.
All those single-use plastic bags, bottles and other objects eventually end up in canals and the drainage system. After some time, they become partially or completely clogged and cannot deal with a huge surge of water, thus increasing the risks of causing great material damage and even losing lives.
Plastics are non-biodegradable, which means they do not break down, taking anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to a breakdown, which causes prolonged disintegration. Plastics can accumulate with other non-biodegradable materials and substances, bound together by fats and grease upon entering a drainage system. This can lead to blockages forming in the drainage system. It can also cause damage to the physical structure of drains and may lead to drain and sewer flooding leading to potholes, artificial lakes on roads and broken bridges due to water flow and stagnation.
Currently, it is estimated that at least 600 tonnes of plastics are consumed every day in Uganda, and most of them are disposed of irresponsibly. The first step to tackling this issue is always saying no to plastic. If step one is not possible, ensure to reuse plastic which can later be properly disposed of in the right way. Make use of dustbins and garbage collection centres to dispose of plastic. Always makes sure the plastic you interact with can be recycled.
It is best when every one of us invests some time into reusing and recycling. Even simple acts like taking your bag to carry the groceries and having a reusable water bottle are huge deals when done consistently.
The battle against plastic pollution is never-ending since we constantly produce harmful material. However, in no case is this a lost cause. There are plenty of ways to diminish waste, and if every person does their part, the world can be changed for the better. Otherwise, it will not be only land, water, and animals poisoned with plastic, but us, too. Our environment is our responsibility. Taasa Obutonde.