The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has held a consultative meeting with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), to discuss how religious leaders can partner to protect the environment.

During the meeting held on 20th August 2015 under the theme, “Promoting the Environment Agenda, Focusing on Kaveera”, the Executive Director, NEMA, Dr. Tom. O. Okurut, noted that the degree at which Ugandans are mismanaging the environment has increased drastically   .

Dr. Okurut said the level of diseases resulting from pollution has reached 25% and majority of the diseases are as a result of plastics, especially kaveera.

He also noted that despite the fact that the use of Kaveera was banned, the public continues to use them as a result of misleading of information and stubbornness, hence putting their lives in danger.

“That is why we want to work with IRCU so that Religious leaders can use their structures to tell Ugandans that environment management starts with them, and that not managing the environment well can lead to death,” Dr. Okurut said.

The IRCU Secretary General, Mr. Joshua Kitakule told the NEMA officials that for this collaboration to be possible, IRCU and NEMA need to sign a partnership agreement and agree on the different roles they both have to perform.

“As IRCU, we will avail our structures, but we need to agree on the materials our leaders will use because we need to ground these messages in scripture. We need to develop messages that are faith based,” Mr. Kitakule said.

According to the Director District Support Coordination and Public Education, NEMA, Dr. Daniel Babikwa, they have so far collected 18 tons of kaveera from the public but a lot still remains in circulation.

“Our prayer is that IRCU recognizes and fully integrates environmental issues in their religious programmes, plans and activities. We also pray that the religious leaders use their privileged positions to reach out to the wider community of believers,” Dr. Babikwa said.