In the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group is profiling major urban centres in the country, highlighting their sanitation, culminating into a gala night on November 25, where the cleanest towns will be recognized. Today we bring you profiles of Mubende and Ajumani towns.
Stray animals dog Mubende By Stephen Ssenkaaba & Luke Kagiri
On a sunny morning as we got off the bus in Mubende town, three dogs were at the doorway of the bus, fighting for a piece of meat that was dropped by a passenger. Not even the bus conductor could chase them away. We had to jump over them. This is the Highway stage, the fastest growing business area, in Mubende town council.
You may be tempted to call this the main town as taxis and buses from Kampala and Fort Portal stopt to load and offload passengers. Here, vendors selling especially roasted meat and other foodstuffs are always busy serving passengers. So the dogs gather to get the leftovers.
A cow loitering on the streets. PHOTO/Luke Kagiri
“We have been complaining about these dogs, but nothing has been done about them. Last week a child was bitten by a dog and was rushed to Mulago,” Daniel Ssenjuki, a local resident, said. Goats freely roam the streets.
Some are zero-grazed in the mayor’s garden. Riding on the main street, you find them feeding on flowers, which have been planted to beautify the town.
In some shops, cows freely mix with customers, often taking time off to feed in the front yards.
Kizito Zziwa, the Mubende mayor said: “We recently passed a bylaw prohibiting residents from rearing animals in town. However, people are not complying. Most of the animals belong to prominent people and when the enforcement officers arrest the animals, the owners threaten them.”
He says the town council executive is planning to hire personnel from outside the town to arrest all the animals and the owners will be prosecuted. Stray animals are just a small fraction of the chaos that is slowly eating away at this otherwise green town.
A recent Vision Group survey indicates that Mubende is struggling with rubbish, broken sewers, bushes and lack of sufficient and clean toilets. In the survey, 73% of the respondents said they had ever seen livestock/poultry loitering in the town in the past six months.
Another 73% said the dustbins in their town are insufficient, but are relatively clean. Fifty-six percent said it was not easy to access dustbins in the town. About 47% of our respondents claim to have seen someone throw rubbish in the town in the past three months.
Mubende’s main street. PHOTO/by Luke Kagiri
However, many residents are making efforts to stop littering, as 63% of the respondents said they avoid littering and only 7% had taken part in clean-up exercises.
Thirty-seven percent of the respondents said they had ever seen sewage bursts in the town and reported very slow attempts to fix them (score 1.7/10). Twenty-seven percent had ever seen open soak pits/manholes in the town, majority of them open for at least a year.
According to information from the town clerk’s office, 75% of the residents have access to piped water. Other sources of water are springs/wells, rain water and boreholes. Human waste is managed through the pit latrines and septic tanks and the town has no connection to the central sewer system.
There is a structural plan; however, implementation has delayed due to lack of funding. While 74% of the respondents were aware of the existence of public toilets in the town, these toilets are dirty, earning a modest 3.7/10 score.
The average cost of access to a toilet is sh143. There are two town planners, two health inspectors, two engineers and one lands officer. The town has no education and environmental officers. There are four markets in the town.
The mayor said they have allocated funds and asked a veterinary doctor to kill the stray dogs in town. They plan to hire people from outside Mubende to clear the town of roaming animals. The town remains somewhat bushy as 23% of our respondents reported to have noticed grown grass in Mubende town.
The mayor said with the development in the town and increasing population, resources are hardly enough to sustain cleanliness.
“For the past 10 years, the funds from central government have remained the same, yet the population is growing and the town has expanded,” he says.
Forty-eight percent of the funds is from the central government while 52% is from local revenue.
“We have employed 31 casual labourers who will be collecting the garbage daily. These have also been advised to form an association or company through which they will be contracted,” says the mayor.
He said they are also encouraging residents to collect garbage in sacks and take to garbage skips where the town council collects it.
Information from the town clerk’s office shows that the town has eight toilets managed by the council. For a population of more than 20,000 people, this means that there is one toilet for every 2,800 people.
Mubende is struggling with rubbish. GRAPHIC/Dan Nsereko
Information from the town clerk’s office indicates there are no garbage skips in Mubende town. Even though the garbage fill is1km from the town centre, this does not help much.
Mayor Kizito said the increasing population has worsened the garbage situation. According to the 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Abstract, Mubende’s population is about 23,100. This, coupled with the shortage of funds, has made it difficult to address the sanitation challenge.
The town council uses sh85m annually for garbage collection, about 7.3% of the 2013/2014 budget of sh1.4b.
The town has about four garbage skips in different parishes, but they are always filled up hours after emptying them.
Bin theft traps Adjumani in dirt By Stephen Ssenkaaba & Richard Drasimaku
A giant statue of a crowing cock stands in the middle of the roundabout at the centre of the town- an emblem of a town supposedly rising up to the early cock to embrace a new day. But the sight of filth around this metropolis suggests that Adjumani might be asleep.
Filth along the nexus of tarmac spreading out to adjoining roads and broke drainage channels have become the new symbol for Adjumani town.
Adjumani is found in West Nile region, on the eastern side of the great river Nile. It attained town status in 1997 when Adjumani district was curved out of Moyo district and its population is 36,900 people- as per the 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Abstract.
Residents dump garbage in undesignated areas in town. PHOTO/Richard Drasimaku
However with such population, the town dwellers have developed a strange culture of collecting and burning heaps of garbage underneath trees. As a result, most of the big Mvule trees along the busy Manyi road have black scars of fire.
The residents are apparently convinced that the trees are big enough to withstand the effects of the burns. The town council LC3 chairman, Patrick Tandrupasi said recently the council provided bins for the public to collect rubbish. However, they were stolen.
Being the biggest market for produce in the district, Adjumani is the meeting point for fresh food traders from different parts of the district. This has worsened the garbage problem as much of the refuse is thrown about the market areas.
In 2011, the town council constructed a solid waste compost plant with support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), but its capacity is small to handle all the garbage.
Town officials blame residents for failure to sort decomposable from non-degradable items and failing to use garbage skips. “The attitude of the people towards sanitation is poor. They think garbage collection is the responsibility of the town council, but they are wrong,” the town clerk Samuel Lagu said.
The issues concerning garbage and general cleanliness in Adjumani go beyond people’s failure to cooperate.
A recent Vision Group survey from this area reveals a number of loopholes in maintaining a clean town. The survey shows that in general Adjumani residents are averagely satisfied with the cleanliness of their town leading to a rating of 5/10.
Only 21.4% of respondents reported to have ever seen dustbins in the town either by the street/road side or the market area.
According to Lagu, this financial year the council allocated sh104m of its sh1bn budget towards improving sanitation, representing 10% of the total budget. This involves mainly solid waste management. The impact of this budgetary allocation is yet to be seen. The survey also indicates inadequate toilet facilities.
Eighty-five percent of respondents claim to be aware of the presence of public toilet, they say, these toilets are dirty, rating is below average. The average cost of accessing a public toilet is sh146, perhaps not affordable for some people.
Slightly more than a quarter (28.6%) had seen grown grass in the town and the maintenance of the grass and gardens is low, leading to a modest 2.2/10 score.
According to Tandrupasi, the town council has laid out a number of strategies to improve cleanliness. “Last year we received a tractor and a truck to boost the local authority’s efforts in trying to keep Adjumani clean,” he said.
Adding that the council also passed a number of resolutions on sanitation including putting acquisition of garbage skips as a precondition for awarding licenses to businessmen.
“We also ordered all landlords in the town to provide rubbish collection containers or sacks and latrines since there is no central sewerage system,” Tandrupasi said.
Adjumani roundabout with the emblem welcomes you to the town centre. PHOTO/Richard Drasimaku
Top on the agenda: Market and latrine construction
The town council intends to continuously mobilse the community for senstisation on sanitation.” Complete the construction of a new market so that traders who have been operating from outside the town centre can be accommodated.
Half of the new market is constructed with sh800m support from the government through the Northwest small holders agricultural development programme.
Private businessmen have been allocated 48 lockup rooms to construct and the council is negotiating for a sh150m loan to construct 22 rooms.
An ultimatum for residents to construct toilets has expired yesterday, those who have failed awaits prosecution. The town is also gazetting places for garbage collection.
Every last Saturday of the month is Keep Adjumani Clean day. Officials and the residents clean the town. There is a Lorry truck and a tractor that go to homes picking garbage.
Residents without latrines are fined and business people who do not have rubbish collection containers, their licenses are nor renewed.
The town lacks safe and clean water. While piped water is the main source of water in the town, it is irregular and sometimes dirty.
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