Tuesday,September 29,2020 11:23 AM

Arua foams with filth

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th September 2013 01:46 PM

Rubbish heaps stare at you as you walk through Arua town. Little mounds of food peels, used paper and polythene bags litter the streets as if they were some sort of decoration

Rubbish heaps stare at you as you walk through Arua town. Little mounds of food peels, used paper and polythene bags litter the streets as if they were some sort of decoration

People’s attitude towards garbage disposal is poor

By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Richard Drasimaku

In the Make Uganda Clean Campaign Vision Group will be profiling major urban centres in the country highlighting their sanitation situaution ,culminating into a gala night on November 25 ,where the cleanst towns will be awarded. Today we bring u the profiles of Arua and Masaka Municipalities

Rubbish heaps stare at you as you walk through Arua town. Little mounds of food peels, used paper and polythene bags litter the streets as if they were some sort of decoration. Many times, boda boda riders and other traffic users drive past the mess, seemingly unbothered by the pungent whiff that comes from the filth.

Arua is a growing but seemingly rotting town. According to a cleanliness survey by Vision Group, the town lacks proper garbage disposal facilities. In the survey which involved 63 respondents, the town scored below average mark of (4.4/10) on sufficient garbage disposal facilities. While 73% of respondents claim to have ever seen dustbins in the town, these bins were said to be insufficient.

According to the town engineer, there are approximately 10 garbage skips located between 500 to 700 metres each. There also is a garbage fill located approximately 3km from the town centre, which is managed by the town authority. This means people have to walk to fi nd a place to dispose of their garbage.

This discourages many people from using the dustbins. In the survey, the dustbins were mostly seen by the roadside and the market areas. Since most food items and animal products comes from markets, the absence of garbage skips there present a ugly picture of the town and portends health risks.

Despite this, 56% of respondents said garbage skips were accessible, meaning town dwellers are not keen on using them. Indeed, 76% of respondents claim to have seen someone litter the town in the past three months. 41.3% reported they personally avoid littering. Public toilet management remains a big problem here. Indeed the town scores a below average mark of 4.2/10 mark on cleanliness of public toilets.

This shows that there is little effort in cleaning places of convenience. That notwithstanding, 86% was aware of public toilets in the town. It costs sh195 to use a public toilet in Arua. That is probably why 7% of the town dwellers use the bush, fi eld, street or corridors. Broken sewers are also a major problem in Arua town with 22% of respondents saying they have seen sewage bursts. 19% reported that there were open man holes in the town.

The town scored below average in efforts to fix broken sewers. Loitering of livestock in the town also remains a major cause for concern among residents. According to the survey, majority of respondents (84%) have ever seen livestock/poultry loitering in Arua town in the past six months.

This leaves the town dirty and smelly. Overgrown grass persists, with 66.7% of respondents reporting having noticed it. But grass maintenance were average at a 5/10 score. The town engineer indicates that about 70% of residents have access to piped water, while human waste is managed through the pit latrines and the central sewer system. About 60% of the population is connected to the central sewer system and there is a structural plan and designated zones for residences, industries and commerce. There are three markets, all permanent with toilets and managed through a tendering system. These findings indicate major cleanliness issues in Arua town. The mayor, Charles Asiki says the municipality has not been able to enforce fines against offenders because of absence of laws.

Instead of using garbage skips, people dispose rubbish anywhere in town

Why Arua town is still dirty

Poor disposal of garbage generated remained a problem. Arua town had five huge garbage heaps which had become part of the town’s landscape by 2008. The latrine coverage was so low, especially in Oli division at only 29%. In the Hill division the latrine coverage stood at about 70% because the fairly wealthy people reside there, said Asiki. The municipal council spends about sh70m annually on sanitation and much of it comes from the primary healthcare funds and contributions from big parastatals.

However, the National Environmental Management Authority last year constructed a sh2.8b compost solid waste management plant at the dumping site which was recently operationalised to turn the garbage into manure. The authority has provided 22 garbage heaps and four trucks to collect 25 to 30 tonnes of garbage generated daily by residents. “Some work has been done through the keep Arua clean programme where every last Thursday of the month is devoted to cleaning, but the town is still not clean. People’s attitudes towards garbage disposal are poor and a lot of sensitisation needs to be done. We also lack a central sewerage system,” Onzubo said.


“For the last three years we have been holding a beautification week in October of every year. We mobilise people in the town to sweep away rubbish around the town and to plant trees. We also distribute seedlings to schools and encourage pupils to plant trees,” says Charles Asiki the mayor of Arua. “Since October is a dry month here, we are thinking of changing this activity to another month.” Every last Thursday of the month is dedicated to cleaning the town. In leading by example, Arua municipal leaders visits each other’s homes to ensure that they have clean homes.

One of Masaka’s busiest streets

Masaka has no Waste disposal site

Efforts to build a dumping site has always met resistance

By Stephen Ssenkaaba and dismus Buregyeya

Masaka town grapples with broken sewers and has yet to appropriately manage its garbage. A walk through this thriving town reveals a contradictory picture bustling modern architecture in some places, flowing sewers and soaring heaps of rotting rubbish in others.

Nyendo trading centre teams with a heap of used bottles, polythene bags and rotting food. A garbage collection centre near the Masaka central market is bursting at the seams with rotten-fishsmelling material.

In the same town, Ambience Discothèque basks in the glittery of modern architecture as are the new hotels, arcades and offices. Some roads look neat, but the town buildings all seem crammed up.

With a 2011 population estimate of 74,100 (UBOS), Masaka is a hodgepodge of confusion. The town has been lacking a gazetted garbage dumping site for a long time. All efforts to put such a site have met resistance. For instance, attempts by the World Bank and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to provide a sh500m garbage recycling facility was frustrated by some leaders as have other attempts to put dumping sites.

To improve garbage management, Masaka municipal council recently procured a new dumping site on a 20 acre piece of land in Bulando in the neighbouring Buwunga sub-county. It cost about sh 130m. However the Masaka Municipal Mayor, Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo has strongly opposed the decision to procure the new dumping site saying the cost rate was inflated. He said the distance from Masaka Town to Bulando dumping
site will drain the treasury.

An alternative garbage dumping site at Bwala hills is meeting resistance from Kitovu hospital and neighbouring schools on grounds that the facility is a health hazard to the community. People are supposed to dump their garbage in the provided garbage skips in town, but, as the mayor explained, many people do not care to use the available dustbins appropriately, hence dropping rubbish everywhere.

A Vision Group survey indicates that 42% of town dwellers have seen broken sewers in the town; but response towards fixing such breakages remains  low. In fact the town registered a 1.8/10 score on fixing broken sewers. Dustbins and rubbish littering is a big challenge in Masaka. According to our survey, 75% of our respondents reported having seen dustbins in the town, but the bins were insufficient, earning the municipality 4.4/10 score.

The dustbins available were averagely cleaned and mostly seen on the streets by the roadside (50%) and to a less extent in the market areas (16.7%). It is interesting that dustbins are not available where they are needed most. And this only encourages more littering.

The survey revealed that it was not easy to get to a dustbin as three quarters of respondents did not know where to find dustbins. 61% of the respondents had ever seen someone litter rubbish in the town in the past three months and only 42.1% reported to personally avoid littering while 23.7% have taken part in an exercise to clean up the town and 20% confessed to have done nothing. Only 5% had made efforts to sensitize other people about the advantages of living in a clean environment


Livestock loitering in Masaka contributes to the mess in the town. 39% of the respondents said they had ever seen animals loitering in Masaka town in the past six months. The town scored 4.3/10. There are also court charges, followed by payment of sh50,000 for every animal loitering in town. But the town also has tall grass with 42% of respondents saying they noticed it. On grass, the town scores 5.8/10.


Boreholes, springs wells, rain water and piped water are the main sources of water. The survey revealed that 60% of the population in the Masaka Municipality has access to piped water


Specific points have been gazetted for dumping of rubbish. The municipal authorities have also approved a policy to privatise garbage collection in Masaka town, a move aimed at keeping the town clean.


92% of respondents said they knew about public toilets and these toilets were relatively clean. The average cost of using a public toilet in Masaka is sh146 per visit. On this front, the town scored 5.6/10.

Despite the challenges, Masaka municipal authorities are implementing a couple of strategies to help the town clean. “For the last four months we have instituted a senstisation campaign in town, where our team meets people to talk to them about cleanliness.

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Arua foams with filth

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