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Kampala’s 7 stinking wonders

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th March 2009 03:00 AM

EAST, west or central, Kampala stinks. From the Busega swamp in the west, the Kinawataka swamp in the east to an upscale market in the central, the air in some areas of Kampala is an assault to the nostrils. It once was the city of seven hills, it now is

EAST, west or central, Kampala stinks. From the Busega swamp in the west, the Kinawataka swamp in the east to an upscale market in the central, the air in some areas of Kampala is an assault to the nostrils. It once was the city of seven hills, it now is

By Robert Wabomba

EAST, west or central, Kampala stinks. From the Busega swamp in the west, the Kinawataka swamp in the east to an upscale market in the central, the air in some areas of Kampala is an assault to the nostrils. It once was the city of seven hills, it now is the city of seven stinking places.

It may be more though; but below are some of the places that will stink till Jesus returns.

1. BUSEGA SWAMP

As you enter the city from the west, you don’t need to read the big ‘Welcome to Kampala’ billboard that stands at Busega round about. You will already have been ‘welcomed’ by the stench of the Busega swamp just before signpost.
Whether asleep, blind or half dead, it’s always at your service. This poison gas chamber straddles across both the Masaka and Mityana roads for about two kilometers. From the dirty green water, the empty mineral water bottles to raw feaces, the papyrus swamp hosts them all. The side at the Masaka road has a washing bay and a papyrus mats market. An abandoned parking yard, littered with fish bones on the Mityana highway completes the picture. Wante, a floriculturist for seven years at this place says no one owns this swamp. It has been stinking for as far as he remembers but ‘worsened a few years ago when traders from the nearby fish market started dumping fish innards into it’. Wante adds that the LC’s have no authority to stop the dumping because the swamp is in “no man’s land”.

2. CITY ABATTOIR /
MEAT PACKERS

Any one with a sense of smell needs no directions to the City Abattoir. From the Wampewo Avenue roundabout, you will smell your way to the place that supplies the city with meat. Located opposite BATU on Old Port Bell Road, the abattoir seats on about half an acre of land, enclosed in a dirty brown perimeter wall. It is home to a kraal, slaughter house, butchery, restaurants, offices, marabou stokes and a parking yard. The slaughter place has the highest concentration of cows, goats, and sheep in the city waiting to meet their creator. After buying from him a stick of roast meat, Mzee Wasswa says the place has been stinking for 24 years.

‘It’s the rotten blood and horns which stink’. I notice however that cow dung, rotten grass, cow heads and hooves on fire are also part of the mix. At the city abattoir, man and marabou storks have equal rights and respect. Another trader says the marabou storks are KCC’s unpaid workers as they eat most of the littered flesh washed down with clotted blood. Killing a marabou stork here is a taboo. The blood is washed and fed into a pipe which drains it outside the perimeter wall near the railway. Nothing is done to contain the stench. If you have never walked along this stretch of the railway, you do not know a thing about odour yet. Kampala City Council (KCC) sends health inspectors but there is little to show that they do any work.

3. BUGOLOBI
SEWARAGE
TREATMENT PLANT

“This is Kampala’s number one toilet” declared a worker at the plant.
“All the feaces from Kampala end up here. Why did Saturday Vision waste their time sending you here,” another one chipped in. “Just like BATU smells of tobacco, Nando’s smells of food, a hospital of drugs, a sewarage treatment plant must smell of feaces.”

This is the Bugolobi sewage treatment plant at Wankoko, on Old Port Bell Road. A dusty marrum road leads to this facility which looks like an abandoned factory in an emerging flower forest. A construction site near a small metallic gate leads to the offices at the back of this stinking wonder. White collar employees here literally go to office via a stinking toilet because raw sewage is fed into four open man holes at the entry. The place smells of raw sewage as cesspool trucks empty their contents here. The sewage is then sorted and led to another wide pool.

According to a worker, there is no chemical treatment done to the sewage, its all biological. He concludes, “this place has been stinking for the last 50 years and will continue to do so unless you and I stop doing, you know what.”

4. KINAWATAKA
SWAMP

This swamp is located in a valley in Kinawataka, on the Namboole-Kireka-Bugolobi road. It’s sandwiched between a tree nursery bed, sugarcane, and yams gardens and a big car washing bay. Every morning, Police patrol trucks come here for a wash.

Mustafa, who has stayed here since the 70s, said the swamp started stinking way back during the days of the late President Idd Amin. Then, dead bodies were dumped into the swamp, and it has never looked back. A combination of industrial waste from the numerous factories located in this wetland along Jinja road and Kyambogo-Ntinda industrial area took over from the dead bodies. The swamp also serves as a communal toilet facility for the emerging slum. Despite the stench, the Kinawataka LC 1 chairman has his offices here.

5. UGANDA FISH
PACKERS

As Ugandan taxpayers make their way to the taxman’s offices, they have to bear the stench that pervades Uganda Fish Packers factory. On the way to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) headquarters in Nakawa is the fish processing factory, opposite Spear Motors on the dusty Kinawataka road. The area around it has been stinking for the last ten years, according to a fish trader in the area. He blames the stench on the fish delivery trucks which are laden with ice to prevent the fish from rotting for the mess. The ice usually melts and flows out of the trucks as they queue to enter the factory. The water used to wash the fish is also discharged into the swamp opposite the factory which compounds the problem.

6. LUZIRA LANDING
SITE

Not only does Luzira house the country’s hardened criminals, but also one of Kampala’s oldest stinking places.

The Old Port Bell pier is a home to algae and a landing site which attracts fishermen. Here, it’s a mixture of algae and rotting fish offals. It is patronised by ducks and a slum. According to Muddu, who came to the place in the early 80s, Luzira stinks like any other landing site.

7. THE DUSTUR -
MARKET STREET
JUNCTION

Like every place you find a garbage skip, this junction is an assault to the nostrils.
The garbage collected from the Nakasero Market overflows the skip onto the road where it rots untouched.
Sometime back, the First Lady led a drive to clean the city and this spot was one of the beneficiaries. It was ridded of all garbage and smell but a few months down the road, the overflowing garbage is beginning to pile onto the road again. The stench is steadily coming back.

Kampala’s 7 stinking wonders

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