Parliament in Uganda has directed the British American Tobacco (BAT) to relocate its tobacco treatment plant from Kampala to another place.
This follows complaints from Kampala residents that the gasses produced from the plant negatively affect their health.
The BAT factory, which is made up of several buildings, is located in Kampala on Jinja-Kampala road about 1 km from the city center.
The directive has come after officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs told Members of Parliament today that the British American Tobacco has deliberately refused to minimize the amount of smoke the plant releases into the air.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Steven Kagoda said, “The fumes from the British American tobacco plant affect the surrounding environment [and] endangers the lives of many people.”
”We directed BAT to relocate the plant to Namanve industrial area about 10 kilometres from Kampala. We are yet to get response from BAT management,” said one of the MPs John Musoke.
The British American Tobacco is the leading tobacco company in Uganda and also among the world’s largest tobacco companies. It employs thousands of Ugandans right from planting up to processing stages.
Scientists say tobacco and cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and heart related diseases. Public cigarette smoking is prohibited in Uganda although the law is not enforced and no one has ever been prosecuted.