PAKWACH. The officials of Pakwach town council in Pakwach district are struggling to rid the town of the rampant polythene bags commonly referred to as kaveeras.

The leaders say the littered polythene bags are not only affecting the environment but also killing livestock.

During the recently concluded "Pakwach we want, who is responsible?" campaign, it was noted that ineffective management of kaveeras is a major problem the town council is grappling with.

The campaign was organized by Pakwach district local government with support from Action Aid and Jonam development foundation (JDF) about the challenges affecting service delivery in the district.

Ms Jessica Kigezi, the Pakwach town council health inspector said: "The big contributors of the polythene bags in Pakwach town are the travellers and some community members who are found of defying the use of portable dustbins provided by the town council."

“These kaveerashave been littered all over in the town with uncollected heaps at some points and this has affected soil fertility thus a threat to the environment,” Kigezi added.

She said as the council, they can’t do much to address the challenge since they only depend on one lorry to collect garbage in the entire town.

According to Mr Alfred Munguacel, the Pakwach town council production officer, the adverse effect of polythene bags in the town has also affected livestock.

“Many farmers who received animals under the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) and the Operation Wealth Creation have lost them to kaveeras. Whenever the animals consume the polythene bags, they end up dying because the kaveeras don’t digest in their intestines,” Munguacel said.

He said so far six cows have been reported dead after consuming salted polythene bags with many not recorded due to the ignorance of some farmers about the signs and symptoms of the affected animals.

Mr Lawrence Okot, a resident of Lubiri landing site in Pakwach town council said the polythene bags are terrible during the rainy season because they get washed into the nearby streams and River Nile which the community depends on for water for domestic use.

"We have been raising this concern to the authority of Pakwach town council but all in vain. Now we are worried of our health," Okot said.

Ms Gorety Onen, a fishmonger in Pakwach town blamed the problem on the delay by the government to enforce the ban on manufacturing and usage of polythene bags as earlier passed by Parliament.

"The local authority here have fewer powers to ban the usage of polythene bags because the government is still licensing the Companies manufacturing them. Burning the accumulated heaps of polythene bags won't equally solve the problem," Onen said.

Alternatively, Mr Robert Omito Steen, the Pakwach district chairperson proposed that officials should come up with compulsory cleanliness days under the theme: "Keep Pakwach clean and Kaveera free" if the polythene bags problem is to be addressed.