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KCC should support new garbage collectors

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th March 2009 03:00 AM

Recently The New Vision carried a story about a row involving two garbage collection firms which left me utterly puzzled “Garbage War Threatens sh 2.3b Waste Project” Wednesday, February 25.

Recently The New Vision carried a story about a row involving two garbage collection firms which left me utterly puzzled “Garbage War Threatens sh 2.3b Waste Project” Wednesday, February 25.

By Ronald Musoke

Recently The New Vision carried a story about a row involving two garbage collection firms which left me utterly puzzled “Garbage War Threatens sh 2.3b Waste Project” Wednesday, February 25.

According to the story, Great Waste and Recycling Foundation, a new garbage collection firm, has taken Nabugabo UpDeal Joint Venture to the Police over accusations of sabotaging its operations within the city.

Meanwhile, Preben Nielsen, a Danish partner in the new firm, has postponed the importation of 20 modern garbage trucks over allegations that Nabugabo UpDeal plans to burn them. The Danish partner has also halted the shipment of 2,000 plastic waste bins over the same threat.

Nabugabo UpDeal on the other hand denies ever making life difficult for their new rivals, with its director Musa Senyondo dismissing the accusations as lacking in substance.

Senyondo says his company has ‘exclusive’ rights to manage garbage collection in the city and is paid directly by Kampala City Council (KCC) but declined to disclose the contract terms.

In the same story, Ruth Kijjambu, KCC’s town clerk dismissed Nabugabo UpDeal’s claims, saying “KCC have no contract with any company although they have decided to put all interested companies on trial.”

And it is at this point of disclosure in the two paragraphs above that I want to express my opinion. First of all, is it not prudent for KCC to come clean and substantiate these claims?

KCC would stand to benefit if they supported the new garbage collection firms — especially those ones with better initiatives, instead of frustrating them. So much garbage is lying uncollected on the streets; dustbins and skips are overflowing with garbage especially in market areas, causing unnecessary inconveniences but also exacerbating public health risks.

Is it not an indication that the so many already existing local garbage collection firms can hardly handle this ever increasing garbage menace? Nabugabo UpDeal and its ilk have done only what they can although I think they are also incompetent and unprofessional as far as the garbage collection business is concerned.

The 1994 Local Government Act puts the responsibility for solid waste management in towns in the hands of the local government authorities like KCC, yet evidence shows that they have miserably failed to fulfill their duties.

In addition, research carried out in the year 2000, estimated that KCC spent approximately $1.5m (sh2b) per month and yet removed only 30% of the total waste generated, a fact corroborated by KCC’s solid waste engineer Michael Mudanye.

Mudanye says in The New Vision story that the city council spends about sh7m everyday to collect and dispose of about 500 tonnes of garbage, a quarter of the total waste generated in the city.

Let KCC come out and substantiate some of these claims. And if we still have laws and law enforcement officers in place, why should firms harass each other as though they are based in a lawless country? Why did Nabugabo UpDeal confiscate their rival’s bins? Was Great Waste illegally operating in Nabugabo’s designated ‘territory’ in case such an arrangement exists?

If KCC does not see the issue of garbage as being grave, let government support Nielsen and his partner’s investments.

In my opinion, they seem to have better ideas on how to handle garbage in the city. Above all, they also seem to have the good will from other development partners (DANIDA) willing to offer other necessary support.

Any change in approach as far as garbage collection in Kampala city is concerned should be well received and not frustrated.

The writer is a journalist with Environment - Conserve

[lSend a topical opinion with your picture to guestwriter@newvision.co.ug. We take 600 words only]

KCC should support new garbage collectors

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