AS one of the remotest, perhaps most neglected areas in this country, Kaabong town’s efforts to clean up are promising
By Stephen Ssenkaaba
trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group is profiling major urban centres in the country, highlighting their sanitation situation, with a view to promoting proper hygiene in towns. The cleanest towns will be announced on Friday November 29, at the Crested Cranes in Jinja during the Urban Authorities Association of Uganda’s Annual General Meeting
AS one of the remotest, perhaps most neglected areas in this country, Kaabong town council’s efforts to clean up are promising. However, this does not indicate any serious accomplishments and as a recent Vision Group survey on cleanliness indicates a lot remains to be done to bring this town to the required standards. The survey carried out from August to September, sampled various residents’ views on cleanliness in their town. All the respondents reported the existence of a cleaning schedule for the town.
Overall, they were satisfied with the cleanliness of their town and market areas. They were also satisfied with the streets/roads and distribution of dustbins. Kaabong is situated in Northern Uganda. It is located about 155km by road, northwest of Moroto. It is the main administrative and commercial centre of Kaabong district and the home of the district headquarters. It takes almost a whole day to travel 551km from Kampala to Kaabong by bus. In the Vision Group survey, most respondents expressed optimism about their town.
All had ever seen dustbins and were reportedly sufficient. They gave the town a satisfactory 8.4/10 score on this front. Eighty six percentage said dustbins were fairly accessible. Things are not all good, however. For instance, 21% of the respondents had ever seen someone litter the town in the past three months. This means that the town is not yet free of litter. The good thing is that people here seem to be proactive about cleanliness as 57% of the respondents said they had personally avoided littering and an impressive 80% had taken part in an exercise to clean up the town. Public toilets here still cause a major sanitation challenge.
All the respondents said they were aware of a public toilet of some sort, but were not committal on cleanliness and accessibility. This leaves a big question concerning the state of toilets in this town. The fact is there is only one public toilet available to a population of 25,600 people as per the 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics abstract 2012. This is worrying. Water is also something to worry about, perhaps not surprisingly in a famously arid area as Kaabong. Boreholes serve as the main source of water, but these sometimes do not produce clean water.
Kaabong Woman MP Christine Nakwang (with microphone) sensitising residents on gender-based violence in 2010
The streets remain dark because of the absence of lights and hydroelectric power in the town, but many people here (93%) still find their town safe. And while the roads are mostly murram or levelled ground and with potholes and many buildings in town old and with peeling coats of paint, people in Kaabong are not particularly disturbed by this reality. They, however, are concerned about noise. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said they felt that their town was noisy.
The main cause of noise here being traders, religious prayers, taxi conductors/ drivers and boda boda riders. Domestic animals have also not helped the town. Many are left to loiter and soil the town with their dung as 64% of the respondents found out.
Kaabong will also have to find a solution to its untended bushes as a whole 86% of the respondents said the town had overgrown grass, which the authorities have done little to clear. The town has one planner, a health inspector, one engineer, a lands officer, one education officer and one environmental officer.
A section of Longoromit dam in Kaabong where some residents draw water for home consumption
Bundibugyo needs to up its game
We have known this place mostly for its culture and scenic natural vegetation. But Bundibugyo still has to put its sanitation house in order if findings of a recent Vision Group survey on the state cleanliness in the town are anything to go by. The study sought views of different residents on hygiene standards. Most of them expressed dissatisfaction and called for improvement, especially on waste management, public toilets and water.
Despite the existence of a cleaning schedule for the town, all the respondents said they were unsatisfied with the state of cleanliness in their town. There was a strong sense among many residents that the markets and dustbins were in a particularly bad condition. They rated their town at a miserable 4.0/10 score on these parameters. Situated about 32km west of Fort Portal, the largest town in the subregion, Budibugyo town is mainly accessible by road. It is about 344km from Kampala by bus or taxi.true
According to the 2012 Uganda Bureau of Statistics abstract, the town has a population of 22,700 people. All respondents said although they may have seen some dustbins in the town, the bins are insufficient. The few dustbins available were seen on the streets and within the markets. Matters have been made more complicated by absence of a garbage fill within the town precincts in which to dump the collected garbage.
They gave the town a modest 2.6/10 rating on this score. All the respondents had ever seen someone litter the town in the last three months as a result of insufficient dustbins in the town. And because of the poor garbage disposal methods here, 87% of them agree that their town is polluted. The personal responsibility for cleanliness here has been somewhat commendable as 63% of respondents said they personally avoid littering, while only 33% have taken part in the exercise to clean up their town. Inadequate public toilet facilities are affecting hygiene in this town.
These toilets are not only insufficient, but are also dirty. On average, it costs sh185 to access public toilet in this town, perhaps not affordable to many poor folk who might be using the bush to ease themselves. Little wonder that the respondents ranked the town on this scale at a lowly 3.6/10 mark.
There is no adequate supply of water here and that has further complicated matters. Some residents depend on unreliable tap water, which according to 80% of respondents, is dirty and unsafe. Other people depend on unsafe springs/wells and rain water. Stray and loitering animals have also added to the mess in this town. Indeed all respondents said they had ever seen livestock loitering in the town council over the past six months.
Residents transacting business in Bundibugyo town
The animals seen include goats, cows and sheep. The town is also quite noisy as all respondents observed that there was no noise control programme there. Many sections in this town are still filled with untended grass as all respondents observed. They added that there were very little efforts to slash this grass.
Despite existence of grid power in Bundibugyo, there are no streetlights and because of this, 67% of respondents consider the town unsafe, especially at night. Add this to the bad murram roads and old paint coated buildings, and the town becomes unsightly. Bundibugyo remains in dire straits. The town lacks a planner, as well as a lands and environmental officers. However, there is an engineer, health inspector and an education officer. Perhaps time is now for the leaders to up their game.
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Kaabong, so little done, a lot more to work on