BY WATUWA TIMBITI AND DISMUS BUREGYEYA
IN the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group will pro le major urban centres in the country highlighting their sanitation situation, culminating into a gala night on November 25, where the cleanest towns will be recognised. Today, we bring you a profile of Bukomansimbi and Kabale
In all fairness, it is understandable that the road from Masaka to Bukomansimbi town council is dusty; it is a relatively new district and town, carved out of Masaka district in 2010. The town council, which is the main urban centre of Bukomansimbi district, is located 26km north-east of Masaka and does not have clear streets or avenues. The town has a population of less than 10,000 people, according to statistics from the local government council
In a survey done by the New Vision, all the 26 (61.5%) respondents comprising 16 males and 10 females at an average age of 30, said the town has a schedule for cleaning roads and market areas. Although there is such a cleaning exercise, only 23% of respondents reported availability of a cleaning schedule for dustbins.
Deductively, this implies that the dustbins were rarely cleaned, thus very dirty, earning the town a score of 1.0/10. On a positive note, however, 46% of the respondents indicated that Bukomansimbi town was cleaned daily and 39% said the cleaning was effected twice or thrice a week. The respondents, however, reported the existence of a cleaning schedule, but they were dissatisfied with the cleanliness of the town, market areas and streets or roads, thus a score of 4.1/10, 4.3/10 and 4.1/10 respectively.
Although electricity is the main source of lighting in the town, according to the respondents, none of them had ever seen street lights in the town, but 92% think the streets are safe at night. On the state of the roads, 92% are murrum and 8% levelled ground. There are many potholes, scoring 5.5/10 and all buildings reportedly have old paint, according to the survey. Although piped water is the main source of water (100%), its fl ow is irregular, though its relatively clean, earning 3.7/10 and 6.5/10, respectively.
No respondent reported existence of a noise control programme in the town, yet itfound to be noisy (100%). Respondents noted that noise was mainly caused by boda boda riders (100%), prayers (69%) and traders (62%). Apart from the challenge of noise pollution, animal loitering is a problem, with cows (62%) and goats (62%) commonly seen,followed by hens (31%) and sheep (8%).
Despite that, it is noted, the animals do not regularly loiter in the town, earning the town a score of 4.5/10. On the other hand, the town has never registered a sewage burst since it has no sewer system and there are no public toilets. But through the key informant, it was noted that some people use pit latrines, while ”others use kavera. On grass maintenance, 77% of the respondents said they noticed overgrown grass in the town and grass maintenance levels were rated low, scoring 4.2/10. “Thirty one percent reported the existence of gardens or planted trees in the town. The gardens or planted trees were relatively wellmaintained (scoring 6.5/10),” according to the report.
DOES ANYONE REALLY CARE?
Bukomansimbi district chairman, Muhammed Kateregga, says to improve water supply and accessibility, the district contributed sh40m to support the town council budget. He adds that the district’s target is to rehabilitate the 130 boreholes in the district. Rotary International through the Rotary Club of Falmouth has made interventions by supporting some schools in Bukomansimbi to access water, particularly for children in schools.
The Masaka Diocese Development Organisation is supporting hygiene campaigns in schools, health centres and homes. On dust, residents and district authorities are banking on the pledges by politicians to tarmac the Masaka-Bukomansimbi road. Regarding transportation, Sheikh Musa Kigongo, the district general purpose committee chairperson, says, “If the road is not worked on soon, we shall end up with severe respiratory diseases from the dust.
Irregular water supply is corroborated by the Bukomansimbi district chairman, Muhammed Kateregga, who attributes it to inconsistent power supply. “The key challenges on sanitation and hygiene include lack of public toilets and hand-washing facilities in the town council,” he says. On the other hand, Rotary International through the Rotary Club of Falmouth has made interventions by providing access to water in some schools.
The project focuses on having proper bathrooms and introduction of eco-sun latrines in some education and public facilities. Additionally, the Masaka Diocese Development Organisation is supporting sanitation and hygiene standards in schools, health centres and homes in Bukomansimbi
WHY IS THE TOWN DIRTY?
RUBBISH MANAGEMENT With more than three quarters (77%) saying it is not easy to locate a dustbin in the town, it can be concluded that rubbish management in the town is equally poor. Only 23% respondents had ever seen dust bins in the town and worse still, those available are insufficient, thus a score of 0.2/10 and very dirty, scoring 1.0/10. “The dust bins were mostly seen on the streets or roads (23%), markets (14%) and other areas such as individual shops (7%),” the survey reads.
INDISCIPLINE Part of the hygiene challenges of the town emanate from individual indiscipline, irresponsibility and disregard for the environment. For instance, all respondents reported ever seeing someone in the past three months littering rubbish in the town.
POLITICS Residents blame their political leaders for failing to fulfil promises on infrastructural development.
Residents not satisfied with Kabale’s hygiene
By Watuwa Timbiti And Goodluck Musinguzi
Ideally, being the gateway to Rwanda, eastern Congo and tourist destinations like Bwindi and Mgahinga national parks should have made Kabale a better town, but that is not the case. The town’s poor sanitation has repulsed most people to other towns such as Kisoro and Kigali in Rwanda.
Akin to a slum in some areas, the town is characterised by dust, garbage, human waste, stagnant water, potholes and unpainted buildings, making it one of the dirtiest towns in Uganda.
Garbage skips behind Kabale taxi park make many shun the market
In a survey comprising 42 respondents (24 males and 18 females), with an average age of 31 years, respondents were aware of a cleaning schedule for the town (98%), roads/streets (83%) and market areas (95%). About 60% of the respondents reported the existence of a cleaning schedule for the dustbins. “Seventyone percent indicated that Kabale town was cleaned daily and 7% said at least two to three times a week,” the study reads in part.
Despite that, the overall reaction is that residents are not satisfied with the cleanliness of the town, thus a score of 4.9/10; are more unsatisfied with the market areas (3.4/10); more unsatisfied with the streets/roads (2.9/10) and are very unsatisfied with the dustbins (2.0/10).
Dustbins insufficient Although the majority (74%) reported having ever seen dustbins in the town, they are said to be insufficient and dirty, thus a score of 2.7/10 and 2.0/10, respectively. “The dustbins were mostly seen in the markets (57%), streets/roadside (12%) and places such as individual shops (31%),” the survey noted. It added: “Half of the respondents (50%) reported that it was not easy to locate a dustbin in Kabale, with an additional 14% not knowing where they were.”
Kabale main road floods during the rainy season, forcing many businesses to change location
Over half of the respondents (57%) consider Kabale town polluted and, on a negative note, the majority (83%) report having seen someone litter rubbish in the town in the past three months, meaning the vice is high. Despite that, a high percentage is conscious about the town’s cleanliness. For instance, 68% say they avoid littering and 14% have taken part in the exercise to clean up the town. Similarly, 2% avoid activities that lead to pollution like burning and 2% have sensitised people about living in a clean environment.
However, 14% have done nothing to improve the cleanliness of the town. Streets Unsafe at night Although grid electricity is the main source of lighting in Kabale town (98%), only 21% of the respondents have ever seen street lights working. “Half reported there are street lights, but they were not working and to 38%, there were no street lights at all.
Eighty-five percent believe that Kabale streets are not safe at night,” the survey states. On the other hand, about threequarters of the roads are partially tarmacked and only 2% are mainly tarmacked. “Twenty-four percent are either of mainly murrum or levelled ground. There are many potholes rated with a score of 7.5/10. Forty-four percent of the buildings are newly-painted,” the survey notes.
River/stream ALTERNATIVE source of water
Just like most towns in the country, piped water is the main source of water in residences (64%) and public taps (33%). Rivers and streams are the other source of water (2%). The respondents, however, said the piped waterflow was irregular, but it was clean, earning the town a score of 4.4/10 and 6.3/10, respectively.
prayers source of noise
Although 26% of the respondents believe there is a noise control programme in the town, it may not be effective. The majority (70%) say the town is noisy, attributing the problem to motor vehicles (79%), bodaboda riders (40%) and prayers (19%).
About 41% of the respondents acknowledged having seen livestock/poultry loitering on the streets, although irregularly in the past six months. The common animals in the town are cows (41%), goats (26%), dogs (7%), hens (5%) and sheep (2%), earning the town a score of 2.9/10.
Soak-pits/manholes open for three to six months
When it comes to sewage bursts, Kabale is not any different from other towns; at least 79% of the respondents have seen sewage bursts in the town.
Worse still, a slow response from the authorities to fix the problem has been registered, attracting a score of 3.4/10. Similarly, 38% have ever seen open soak-pits/manholes in the town, with the majority saying they had been open for between three and six months. Related to sewage are the public toilets; the majority (98%) are aware of the existence of
public toilets in the town. Among them 72% are aware of flush toilets, 36% of the VIP pit-latrines and 4% of the bush/field/street/ corridors. Notably, the public toilets, whose average cost of accessibility is sh150 per visit, are on average clean, scoring 5.2/10.
Gardens/ trees poorly maintained
Although 57% of the respondents reported existence of gardens/trees in the town, they were poorly maintained, scoring 4.2/10. Similarly, 31% have noticed overgrown grass in the town and low grass maintenance levels, earning the town a score of 4.6/10.
Town not as dirty as meets the eye
Augustine Bujara, the town clerk, says Kabale town is not as dirty as it is perceived, adding that cleaning in places with good roads is much easier than where the roads are bad. He partly attributes the town’s hygiene problems to one of the bad roads on the main street, which is under UNRA.
The road has poor drainage and many potholes that retain water. Bujara also blames the situation on residents not respondng to the authorities in good faith. “Residents in other towns respond positively when a mayor says something, but to achieve results in Kabale, you need to use force, which is not sustainable,” he notes. However, all is not lost. Bujara says there are several interventions to improve the town’s sanitation, although with minimal results.
For instance, he says under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID), Kabale Municipality will get sh16b, which will be used to upgrade roads, improve drainage, street lights, beautification and pavements. Every last Thursday of the month, the Keep- Kabale-Clean programme is undertaken.
Bujara says the programme has been embraced by schools, universities, NGOs, Prisons and the UPDF. He also discloses that the garbage re-cycling plant donated by World Bank and NEMA at Kiregyere is helping to turn refuse into composite (manure).
The municipal council, according to Bujara, runs on a small budget of about sh200m per financial year to maintain a fleet of vehicles used in waste management. He added that Kiregyere, where the garbage is taken for recycling, is far away from the town, resulting in a high expenditure on fuel.
He also notes that some parts of Kabale town cannot be connected to the sewerage line because the gradient is negative and cannot flow. Andrew Biija, the acting municipal principal health inspector, says most people use on-site sanitation (septic tanks) and when they fill up, the residents pour sewage in the drainage and flooded areas, causing an awful stench in the town. Just like Bujara, Biija blames the residents for the mess in the town, noting that they do not take the initiative to clean their homes and surrounding and wait to be pushed.