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 Kasese and Buikwe towns.
Kasese yet to recover from flood effects
By Watuwa Timbiti & Wilson Asiimwe
The devastating effects of the May 2013 floods have left deep scars on Kasese Municipality. The floods that washed away roads and bridges and displaced thousands, did not spared toilets and pit latrines.
As a result, up to 80% of the residents in Bulembia Division in the municipality use the bush as places of convenience, according to the division LC3 chairman, Pascal Kasoke.
Kasese's main street. PHOTO/Wilson Asiimwe
The sanitation situation has been worsened by poor physical planning, according to the Mayor Godfrey Kabyanga. He says the presence of unplanned/ unapproved structures has proved costly since they block the town’s drainage system.
“People are building without any approved plan. It is a big problem because all the drainage channels in Kasese town are now blocked,” he notes.
The health inspector, Chris Kabagambe, cites the inadequacy of rubbish skips; they are only 10, obviously not enough to contain the garbage generated by the population, prompting the residents to dump rubbish on the roadside.
Kabagambe observes that even the available skips are not optimally used. Kabagambe and Kabyanga’s observation echo the findings of a Vision Group surve on the sanitation status of the town.
For instance, although the survey indicates that a high percentage (97%) has seen dustbins in the town, they were deemed insufficient and scoring 4.1/10.
There is an imbalance in the distribution of dustbins. For instance, whereas majority (79%) of the respondents say it is easy to locate a dustbin, with a 77% presence on the streets/roadside, in the market areas and individual shops, the dustbin distribution is poor, standing at 18% and 5%, respectively.
Additionally, the survey showed the residents lacked sanitation discipline. At least 85% of the respondents reported having seen someone litter rubbish in the town in the past three months.
On the other hand, 35% have reported avoiding littering, 43% have taken part in the exercise to clean up the town and 4% have avoided pollution activities like burning bushes or garbage.
Worse still, only 2% have done something to sensitise people about the need to live in a clean environment, while 16% have not done anything to improve cleanliness of Kasese.
Despite the shortfalls, the town is considered clean. The respondents reported the existence of a cleaning schedule for the town, roads/ streets, market areas and dustbins, and are satisfied, earning the town a 6.0/10 score, the market areas 5.7/10, the streets/roads 5.6/10 and dustbins 5.5/10.
Kabagambe says one way of ensuring effective garbage management in the town is maximum utilisation of the World Bank funded garbage recycling plant.
According to the survey, the town is connected to the national power grid (100%), which is the main source of lighting, and 85% of the respondents say they have seen functional street lights in the municipality.
The road network needs improvement, with 39% of the roads either partially tarmacked and only 28% leveled.
The potholes are few, scoring 3.9/10. The town faces noise challenges; with 62% of the respondents said there is a noise control programme in the town.
Challenges: Toilets and water
Although no respondent has seen sewage bursts in the town before, and 92% of the respondents are aware of the existence of public toilets, these places of convenience are dirty, earning a 4.8/10 score.
This means the public toilet, whose average cost of accessibility is sh195, needs to be improved in terms of cleanliness to avert cholera and other diarrhoea-related diseases.
Effects of the May floods
Pascal Kasoke, the LC3 chairman of Bulembia division in the municipality, says the floods that hit the area in May this year left more than 80% of the residents using banana plantations and bushes as latrines since their latrines were washed away.
Kabagambe acknowledges the absence of latrines in some homes and the likely health implications, noting that as a measure to curb health hazards, they are prosecuting landlords whose buildings have no latrines.
The municipality is also not doing so well in water accessibility. For instance, piped water is the main source of water either from the public tap at a low proportion of 31% or in residences (67%). The water is averagely regular and clean, scoring well at 5.4/10 and 6.1/10 respectively.
1984: Kasese became a town council in 1984 and a municipality in 2001.
100,000: The town, which has a population of close to 100,000, is immersed in poor garbage collection and management, largely due to poor attitude of the people and logistical inadequacy, says the health inspector, Chris Kabagambe.
Sh4 billion: The town which has 20 primary schools and 10 secondary schools has a sh4b budget for this financial year, with just 15% allocated to sanitation.
Buikwe too poor to get a plan: Garbage is dumped in a wetland
By Watuwa Timbiti & Charles Kakamwa
Being a fairly young town, Buikwe’s revenue base is small. This has affected the process of getting a physical plan, which according to authorities impacts on sanitation.
Buikwe, which became a district and a town council in 2009, does have a town plan and has just recruited a town planner.
“This financial year, we hope the local government ministry will give us funds for a physical plan. As a young town with low revenue base, we cannot afford this exercise,” Edmund Musoke, the physical planner says.
Buikwe town council has launched a beautifying effort. PHOTO/Charles Kakamwa
In the absence of a town plan, effective sanitation becomes elusive because there is no structured way of allocating land for the different activities in town.
For instance, the town, with a population of 15,000, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) 2012 projections has no gazetted garbage dumping site; household refuse is ferried to a wetland near Buikwe football pitch where it is burnt, posing serious environment hazard.
The sanitation status of Buikwe validates the findings of a Vision Group survey, which indicates the town’s cleanliness as wanting.
According to the survey which was done between August 26 to September 6, less than half of the respondents acknowledge the existence of a cleaning schedule for the town, roads/streets, market areas and dustbins and slightly more than half (53.1%) do not know when the town is cleaned.
Subsequently, residents are unsatisfied with the town’s cleanliness, earning a poor score of 2.2/10 and market areas, poorly scoring 2.2/10.
The scores for the roads/streets and waste bins/dustbins are not better either, standing at 1.8/10 and 1.1/10, respectively.
Worse still, a lower percentage have seen dustbins in the town and they are insufficient, thus an average score of 0.8/10. This means the authorities have to invest more in dustbin distribution and better garbage management to avert public health problems.
As a way forward, the town clerk, Ronald Kawuma, says council has prioritised purchase of land for a dumping site.
“We are hopeful that in the next two financial years we will have secured a piece of land that we can turn into a garbage dumping site,” he says.
He says the council passed a sh400m budget this financial year, with sh15m for garbage collection, an increase of sh3m compared from the last financial year.
The town has nine primary and one secondary government schools. But there are also many private ones.
Highlights of key sanitation issues
The town’s water distribution is still wanting; according to the survey, the well is the main source of water (46.9%) with other sources being piped water and spring which are considered regular and clean.
Other animals that loiter, though rarely, include sheep, hens and ducks. The council has instituted by-laws to fine the owners of the animals sh50,000.
The town is doing well on grass maintenance. It is rarely seen with overgrown grass and gardens, scoring averagely at 5.5/10. There is a sh100, 000 fine on breaking trees or flowers which are planted in town.
The town’s public toilet, which is accessible at an average cost of sh100, mainly comprise pit-latrines and movable plastic latrines which are averagely clean, scoring 5/10.s.
The town, which is largely a sugar cane growing community, is grappling with dust from its murram and leveled roads, with potholes scoring 3.5/10.
Amina Naigaga who operates a restaurant along the road to Kiyindi landing site, says the dust is unbearable on sunny and windy days.
“Dust covers the floor, tables, utensils and even the food served. Customers complain and some of them walk away without eating. We incur losses yet we have to pay taxes to council,” she laments.
Naigaga’s complaint is echoed by the deputy mayor Sulaiman Lule: “Here, almost everything is contaminated with dust. Butcheries, restaurants, shops and residential premises are all covered with dust. We actually eat dust,” he states.
He adds that plans are underway to open up more roads. In addition to the dust, the town, water distribution is still wanting; according to the survey, the well is the main source of water (46.9%) with other sources like springs.
So, with the reading done, we definitely would like to hear from you
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- WHAT should we do to improve Ugandan towns?
- WHAT can you do as an individual to keep your town clean?
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