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Thursday, 05 October 2023

NEMA suspends enforcement of dust bins in cars

NEMA suspends enforcement of dust bins in cars

The National Environmental Management Authority(NEMA) has announced that it has suspended the  planned enforcement of the requirement for all vehicles to have dustbins or pay a shs6 million fine in default.

In a statement released on Friday, a few hours to the commencement of the enforcement, today, April, 1, NEMA Executive Director, Dr. Akankwasa Barirega said the enforcement had been halted for at least 30 days after an engagement with public transporters federation.

“The public transporters requested for additional time to install trash bins or bags in their vehicles. We have accordingly given them a grace period of 30 days to enable them install trash bins or bags to prevent littering from the public transport vehicles,” Barirega said in a statement on Friday.

“The enforcement teams are hereby notified that no body should be arrested or fined for not having a trash bin or bag in their vehicle during this grace period starting April, 1, 2023.”

The grace period is applicable for both private and public vehicle but according to the NEMA Executive Director, any vehicle seen littering or throwing trash will be impounded, the owner arrested and then prosecuted.

He noted that enforcement of all the other offences begins today, April,1.

“Note that the administrative fines are voluntary and a person who doesn’t prefer the fine will be subjected to prosecution and imprisonment of a fine as determined by court,”Barirega said.

In February, NEMA announced that it was set to implement  new express penalty scheme intended to deter non-compliance to environment laws and to prevent environment degradation.

Among the new regulations, every car is supposed to have a dustbin and any vehicle found without one will see the driver arrested or fined shs6 million.

The NEMA Executive Director said they are going to work with traffic police to implement this specific regulation.

However, this requirement for vehicles to have dustbins or pay a shs6 million fine has caused a public uproar, especially on social media.

Many have said it is illogical for NEMA to start enforcing installing of dustbins in vehicles.

The Uganda Law Society earlier last month  wrote to NEMA challenging them on the requirement for all vehicles to have dustbins.

The lawyers’ body argued that the offence that is being introduced is not prescribed by the Ugandan law, adding that the National Environment Management Act, 2019 does not provide for the offence of driving a car without a dustbin.

““Our request to you was for the law that prescribes the offence of motorists not carrying a dustbin in their vehicles. We pointed out that the Constitution requires that every offence be defined and penalty provided by law . Your claim that carrying a dustbin is in fulfilment of a motorist’s responsibility for waste generated in a vehicle does not address the issue,” Uganda Law Society president Bernard Oundo said in a letter to NEMA.

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