Carrying hot food or drinks in polythene bags locally referred to as kaveera could have far-reaching consequences to health because they are usually contaminated with the chemicals used in producing the bags, scientists have warned.
Those chemicals include styrene and bisphenol-A which can cause cancer, heart diseases and harm to reproductive problems.
Scientists also warned that even water packed in plastic bags and containers are also not good for health because when these plastic containers are exposed to hot sun, they cause some reactions which cause serious health hazards.
Health experts revealed that serving food in Kaveera, a common practice in the country, could cause filtration of chemical compounds into food and contaminate it with cancer-causing agents.
Patience Nsereko, principal environmental inspector at National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) said that plastic bags are not fit enough to carry food items advising the population to find other alternative means.
“Some of these chemicals are released once the Kaveera is exposed to heat. then you accumulate such substances in the body,” she explained.
Dr. Umar Kasule, an environmental specialist, also revealed that serving hot food or liquids in Kaveera could cause chemical filtration from the polythene bags into food, a situation he said could cause metabolic disorder including obesity and reduced fertility.
“It causes so many things like the change of cells, every time you get a different chemical that you don’t know.It predates you to the change of cell structure and change of cell structure is one of the ways of making cancer or developing cancer,” he stated.
Last week, the government ordered a ban on the manufacture and importation of polythene bags in order to protect the environment and natural resources in the country.
The State Minister for Environment, Beatrice Anywar, told the media that polythene bags have extreme effects on the environment and there is a need to stop their usage, but the implementation has been slow due to legal challenges but the problem is with delayed enforcement of laws.
Now, with these directives, implementation will be easy and done in a shorter period,” Anywar said.