Uganda has enacted a new law that bans littering in the country, with convicted offenders liable to a $540 fine or jail term for a period not exceeding one year.
According to the Physical Planning Amendment Act No 2 of 2020 passed by the parliament on Tuesday, dropping or littering rubbish outside the litter bin will be an offense. It’s therefore mandatory for all premises to have a litter or garbage bin.
The new law also requires all houses to have their exterior painted regularly, in addition to ensuring that houses are tidy and clean and that green patches are trimmed regularly.
Owners of premises are also required by the new law to place a signpost indicating a street and plot number as prescribed by the local government.
At the front of a business premise, the owner must provide pavers and maintain cleanliness.
Announcing the new laws at a press conference on Tuesday in Uganda’s capital Kampala, Isaac Musumba, the State Minister for Urban Development, said the law places a legal duty on every Ugandan to create, maintain and enhance a well-planned environment.
Musumba said parish and sub-county chiefs are responsible for implementation of the new measures. Therefore, a local chief will have to approve the site before construction of any building kicks off. This is meant to ensure that the site receives the planner’s approval.
Musumba said appropriate architectural plans will be available at the sub-counties to make it easy for Ugandans to build decent structures using modern architectural designs.
He noted the Physical Planning Board is now responsible for physical planning. Initially, there were many planning centers without any supervision body responsible for ensuring implementation of what had been planned.
“The Physical Planning Board now has power and authority to break or direct breaking of any premise that is offensive to the physical plan of the area,” he said.
Musumba said the law enjoins the Uganda police and other relevant agencies to cooperate with the Physical Planning Board in apprehending offenders under the Act.
“The rationale here is to make everybody a vigilante for physical planning because every Ugandan has a right to a clean, healthy and well planned environment in accordance with Article 39 of the constitution,” he said.
Any building erected in a road reserve, wetland or public space will be demolished on the orders of the board. It also will be an offense to obstruct an officer or person authorized under the Act in the course of their duty.
Under the new law, local government officials who excel in implementing the new Act will be rewarded while those who fail to implement the measures will have their funding reduced.