Public policy implementation in Uganda: a case of the ban on plastic bags in Uganda
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Plastic bags are popularly used for shopping in Uganda. However, studies have shown that they degrade the environment and pose a threat to human life since they contain carcinogenic compounds that are known for causing cancer. Also, they are a threat to biodiversity both terrestrial and marine. As a result, a policy was passed in 2008 banning the use of plastic bags. The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the policy ban on plastic bags in Uganda. The study was guided by the following specific objectives: To assess public awareness about the policy banning plastic bags in Uganda; To assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the policy banning plastic bags in Uganda; To assess the factors affecting effective implementation of the policy banning plastic bags in Uganda, and To propose strategies for improving implementation of a policy banning plastic bags in Uganda. Plastic bag users in Kampala Central Division, KACITA, and KCCA staff. Data were collected using questionnaires, interview guides, and a review of documents. The findings of the study revealed low levels of awareness about the policy by both the plastic bag users and key informants. The study also established that the implementation of the policy has not been effective as the policy directives such as reduction on importation of plastic bags have not taken course. The factors for the limited effectiveness of the implementation of the policy were: low level of awareness, lack of goodwill among policymakers, absence of alternative bags, and limited stakeholder involvement. Results on strategies for promoting effective implementation of the policy banning plastic bags revealed that stakeholder involvement, provision of an extended grace period to manufacturers, continuous sensitization of the users, and licensing together with subsiding the manufacturers of alternative bags can greatly improve on the effectiveness of the policy. The study concluded the policy banning plastic in Uganda has not been effectively implemented as production is still ongoing, no alternative bags exist and importers continuing to bring in several metric tons. The study recommended the need for differentiation and consequent implementation of the strategies suggested by the study.