Even when garbage skips have been put in place, the people of Kibuku town somehow prefer to throw rubbish outside
By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Moses Nampala
trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group is profiling major urban centres in the country, highlighting their sanitation situation, with a view to recognising the cleanest towns at the end of November. Today, we bring you profiles of Kibuku and Kole towns
Even when garbage skips have been put in place, the people of Kibuku town somehow prefer to throw rubbish outside rather than inside the bins. It is baffling, even to the town clerk Bruno Nawoya, who explains this as a result of a “rural mindset of the people”.
Kibuku is one of the rural towns in eastern Uganda. With a population of 25,000, it is struggling to provide sufficient sanitation facilities to cater for the growing population. People throng the town to do business every day and to work.
The numbers get even bigger every Thursday and Saturday — the two market days. While this boosts business, it also puts a strain on the limited sanitation facilities in the town. The town authorities are now complaining of accumulated rubbish and latrines that have filled up. Often, the many people who come to do business here encroach on school latrines, straining the facilities.
A female teacher from Kibuku Primary School, on condition of anonymity, observed that besides encroaching on latrines at her school, people also ease themselves outside the school premises exposing students and teachers to diseases. Dennis Mwesige, the health inspector, says life gets worse during the rainy season as all the filth spreads, exposing residents to disease.
He adds that resources are not yet sufficient to improve sanitation here. The town council currently has an annual budget of sh370m, out of which sh12m (5%) is allocated to sanitation.
According to the town clerk, the sh12m is directed towards buying fuel for garbage trucks and staff’s wages as well as sanitation. All the above concerns are reflected in a Vision Group survey carried out from August to September this year. While 93% of respondents reported availability of cleaning schedules in Kibuku, most of them were averagely satisfied with the cleanliness of the town.
They expressed concern over the state of roads, markets and dustbins. Ninety-three percent of the respondents said they had seen dustbins in the town, but these were averagely sufficient.
As many as 79% of the respondents have seen someone litter the town in the past three months. According to the local people, the council collects garbage twice a week. Even then, waste management remains a huge challenge. Like any other rural-urban town, herds of cattle are a major feature in the town.
According to the survey, 79% of the respondents said they had ever seen livestock/poultry loitering in Kibuku town in the past six months. Eighty-six percent of respondents said the public toilets are very dirty. There are two public toilets of six stances each. Users are required to pay sh100 to access them. The town has one planner, a health inspector, six engineers, no lands officer, two education officers and one environment officer.
Animals banned in town
“The council has outlawed grazing of cattle in the town, although we are still allowing herds of cattle to pass through the town on the way to the grazing ground,” explains the town clerk. When the garbage is collected, it is deposited in a designated location near the main market. When it accumulates, it is collected and taken to a dumping site away from the town, where it is burnt. Kibuku is yet to set up a compost waste pit as both organic and non-organic waste are dumped in the dumping site.
Between the lines: Toilet utilisation
- The community has refused to use the public toilets, instead opting to encroach on latrines in the nearby Kibuku Health centre.
The town has a fairly steady water supply provided with the support of former state minister of water, Jennifer Namuyangu,under the Small Towns Water Development Project. The water is drawn from the nearby River Mpologoma.
Before this, the town faced serious water scarcity. “All water source points including boreholes would dry up during the dry season, causing acute water shortage,” says the mayor, Abubaker Nangejje. The town health inspector also said plans are underway to construct a fence around public utilities, once funds are available.
Kole is a grazing field
By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Boniface Odongo
IT has been three years since its establishment, but Kole town looks like a remote little village in the wilderness. Coated with thick layers of dust and surrounded by shacks of dilapidated structures and the famous Okole swamp, this little town is in dire need of help.
Kole swamp has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so most residents are prone to malaria attacks. The untended shrubs form part of the unkempt lawns that have made this town look like an abandoned suburb.
A Vision Group survey indicates that residents believe little is being done to improve cleanliness. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents reported the existence of a cleaning schedule for the roads/streets and market areas, but were dissatisfied with the cleanliness of the town, particularly the market areas, streets/roads and dustbins.
None of the respondents reported seeing a dustbin in the town, which means Kole town, with all its filth, does not have dustbins. Fifty three percent of the respondents had ever seen someone litter the town in the past three months. Sixty percent of the respondents thought Kole town was polluted.
Despite their reservations about the town’s cleanliness, 40% of the respondents said they had done nothing to improve the cleanliness of the town. No respondent had seen a sewage burst in the town as there is no sewer system. Without a single toilet, one has to devise means to answer nature’s call. Many of them use the bushes and others polythene bags to dispose of their waste. But with a budget of sh5m, the town authorities have very little to work with.
The town is shrouded in overgrown grass and according to all respondents in this survey; nothing is being done to clear the bushes. And being a rural town, Kole is yet to get rid of loitering animals as 80% of our respondents reported having seen animals and poultry roaming the streets. Much as the area is connected to the electricity grid, most homes still use kerosene lanterns for lighting. Levi Adyel, the mayor, says to ensure cleanliness of the town, a health inspector has been recruited
Cattle grazing in a field in Kole. Photos by Boniface Odongo
Meagre budget allocation
The mayor, Levi Adyel, agrees that sanitation and cleanliness are poor because the town has not had sufficient staff to mobilise manpower and supervise activities. “We did not have a health inspector for a long time until recently when we recruited one.”
Funding has also been a challenge as little has been budgeted for sanitation and hygiene. “Out of the sh295m annual budget, we have allocated only sh5m to sanitation.
This is hardly enough for sanitation-related activities. “This shows lack of seriousness on the part of our leaders because sh5m is not enough to construct even one public latrine, which is badly needed,” says Innocent Okello a resident of Eastern Ward B.
The mayor says the town council does not have equipment for road construction and this has only worsened the state of the roads. Residents say the last road grading was done by the area MP Fred Ebil Ebil, who brought a grader and did the work on behalf of the town council
trueThe three-year-old town at a glance
The town council does not have piped water. Residents survive on three boreholes and swamp water, which also serves the animals that loiter in the town
To ensure that the town is clean, the mayor says, plans are underway to pass a bylaw to punish the owners of livestock found loitering in the town
Kole town does not have a public toilet, yet the town has about 15,000 people. The budget allocated for sanitation cannot even build one pit-latrine.
Most buildings like the Police offices are grass thatched. The town has murram roads and levelled ground, but they have potholes
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Garbage, market compete for space in Kibuku town