Residents of Mpigi town are not smiling. If the latest findings by a Vision Group survey on residents’ perceptions of cleanliness in their town are anything to go by, people here are disappointed by a dirty, unkempt town.
Toilet usage and maintenance remain a challenge
By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Andrew Masinde
In the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group will be profi ling major urban centres in the country highlighting their sanitation situation, culminating into a gala night on November 25, where the cleanest towns will be recognised. Today we bring you profi les of Mpigi town and Gulu municipality
Residents of Mpigi town are not smiling. If the latest findings by a Vision Group survey on residents’ perceptions of cleanliness in their town are anything to go by, people here are disappointed by a dirty, unkempt town. About 86% of respondents in this survey considered Mpigi town to be polluted. This is a clear indication of the fi lth prevalent in the town.
One of the biggest problem the town is facing is poor use of toilets. According to the survey, only 14% of town users were aware of public toilets in Mpigi. As if that was not bad enough, these toilets are dirty, earning the town a deplorable 0.7/10 score, on a scale of 10/10. The average cost of using a public toilet is sh102 per visit, perhaps not such a high cost for most people, but certainly a signifi cant amount for the poor in this town.
Could this be the reason why public toilet awareness and use is low? Neither is there much keenness on cleanliness in the town. Mpigi town residents, our survey reveals, are only averagely satisfi ed with the cleanliness of the town, thus the average score 5.6/10 on this. Despite over 90% reporting existence of cleaning schedules for the town, streets and market areas, only 7% of residents acknowledged existence of a cleaning schedule for dustbins.
Residents are averagely satisfi ed with the cleanliness of the town, leading to a 5.6/10 score, while they remain dissatisfi ed with the waste skips. A walk through the town presents upcoming structures — fl eets of retail shops with fresh paint, and new storeyed buildings under construction.
The only Police Station located just next to the town council head offi ce is in bad shape. The few traces of tarmac in the town are getting worn-out. Despite the fact that women are employed to sweep, the town is still dusty, with garbage scattered every where. The town is lined with small businesses ranging from retail shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and communication centres. There are technical services, motor garages; mills and fuel stations that employ the youth around. Only 21.4%, the survey reveals, had ever seen dustbins or waste skips in the town and where they exist, these bins are insuffi cient. The town only scores 1.6/10 on this front and a disappointing 4.5/10 for dirt. Just 21% of the respondents had seen dustbins in the market area, pointing to the absence or poor location of these. This then justifi es the poor record of waste disposal in this town.
There are many buildings under construction. Photos by Andrew Masinde
Llivestock and poultry are fairly common in Mpigi town with 36% of the respondents claiming to have ever seen livestock and poultry loitering in town in the past six months. Indeed 21% of the respondents report having seen over grown grass. At a score of 1.5/10, grass maintenance levels in Mpigi remain very low. And yet, 57% respondents talking about presence of well-maintained gardens and planted trees in the town. The Mpigi Mayor, Charles Kyasanku said they ensure slashing of vacant plots by their owners.When they fail, we slash and charge the owners. According to the town health assistant, the town uses piped water as the main sources of water and about 70% of the population has access to piped water, but there is no sewage system in the town. There is a garbage skip and the town council manages the garbage through decomposition and burning. The town has a town planner, health inspectors, engineer, lands offi cer, education offi cer and environmental offi cer. There is one market with a garbage skip and about 100 market stalls. There are three public toilets owned by the town council and are cleaned by market management
“Mpigi does not have a central sewerage system. All the collected garbage is dumped in the town dumping site in Kakoola Zone, 4km from town. There is a town plan available. It established commercial, industrial, residential and recreational zones. But it is not comprehensive. That is because “we do not have money yet to implement a comprehensive town plan.”
Gulu choking on her people
By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Patience Aber
GULU town could as well suffocate from the stench of its own sewage. This is a town characterised by the absence of consistent clean water supply, a poor drainage system with sewers bursting, spilling their content on the streets. According to information from the senior assistant town clerk, human waste is managed mainly through septic tanks or a functional sewage system. However, only approximately 30% of the population is connected to the central sewer. The roads in the town that connect the four divisions and lead to villages are in sorry state.
A vehicle passing through the potholed road of Gulu that leads to Lacor Hospital and Southern Sudan, Photos by Charles Mukiibi
With the exception of a few tarmac roads in the town centre, most roads are gravel. And yet, the tarmac roads are partly eaten up by potholes the size of gullies. It is nightmare when it rains Mayor George Labjea said, the sewerage pipes are as small as four inches, but with funding from the German government they plan to redesign the sewerage systems and build lagoons in each division.
The latest Vision Group survey indicates that sewage bursts are a major threat to the cleanliness of this town. About 82% of respondents in this survey claim to have seen sewage bursts. According to the respondents, response towards fixing the bursts has always been very slow earning the town a mediocre 3.5/10 score. Indeed 20% of the respondents claimed to have seen open soak pits or manholes in the towns and majority had been open for nearly six months. For a town recovering the ravages of war, the enemy now seems to be the increasing garbage and dirty streets. There are dustbins in Gulu town, but they are not sufficient.
Despite the fact that 85.2% of respondents claim to have seen dustbins in the town, they are insufficient, only worth a very low 2.9/10 score for the town. They are also dirty, leading to a lacklustre 1.9/10 score. According to the survey, only 44% of the respondents reported having seen the dustbins in the market area, while 39% claim to have spotted them on the street or roadside.
About 80% of the respondents said either it was not easy to locate a dustbin or never knew any dustbin location. Information from the senior assistant town clerk indicates that the town has more than 10 garbage skips and is averagely collected once a day.
The municipality has a land fill where the garbage is burnt. Littering of rubbish is a common feature in this town. Indeed, 70% of respondents said they had seen someone throw rubbish on the streets in the past three months. Apparently, 75% of respondents considered Gulu town to be polluted.
There seems not to be much commitment from residents towards improving the town’s cleanliness here. Only 42.6% reported they personally avoid littering; 20% said they avoid polluting activities like burning and only 6% have participated in cleaning activities in the town.
Public toilets still pose a serious health challenge to Gulu town. Our survey reveals that the toilets are dirty, earning the town a 4.7/10 below average mark. In fact 70% of the respondents knew about public toilets in Gulu town, but this does not mean they are using them well, especially as the sh260 average cost of using a public toilet seems beyond the means of most.
A pupil jumps over a sewerage spewing from a burst pipe
Gulu town is teeming with overgrown grass. In fact, according to the survey, 82% of respondents claim to have noticed over-grown grass there. Not much is being done to mow the grass, thus the low maintenance levels and an unimpressive 4.0/10 score. Only 28% of the respondents reported knowledge of gardens or planted trees in the town, which, despite their existence were poorlymaintained.
The town scored only a below average 4.5/10 on this. You will still find cows and chicken loitering in Gulu town. About 65% of the interviewed residents said they had seen livestock or poultry loitering there in the past six months scoring 4.9% on this. It also has a planner, health inspector, engineer, lands, education and environment officers. There are 10 markets and six public toilets.
Only 20% of the roads are tarmacked toilet seems beyond the means of most. Gulu town is teeming with overgrown grass. In fact, according to the survey, 82% of respondents claim to have noticed over-grown grass there. Not much is being done to mow the grass, thus the low maintenance levels and an unimpressive 4.0/10 score.
An aerial view of Gulu town from Dr. Lucille Road
Only 28% of the respondents reported knowledge of gardens or planted trees in the town, which, despite their existence were poorlymaintained.
The town scored only a below average 4.5/10 on this. You will still find cows and chicken loitering in Gulu town. About 65% of the interviewed residents said they had seen livestock or poultry loitering there in the past six months scoring 4.9% on this. It also has a planner, health inspector, engineer, lands, education and environment officers. There are 10 markets and six public toilets. Only 20% of the roads are tarmacked
Mayor George Labeja says the current infrastructure is ove-stretched. He attributes the bursting sewer pipes, whenever it rains, to high population. There is only one sewage collection point located in Laroo Division
Top on the agenda: Plans for hygiene promotion
“We have allocated sh72m to promote hygiene and sanitation in 2013/2014 financial year, which is 0.17 % of the sh42b budget. We have formed road gangs who help in clearing drainage and collecting garbage from the streets and outskirts of the town. We also plan to enact a bylaw to levy fines on people who litter the town,” says Labeja. They plan to open four more lagoons with support from the German Government and also tarmac 16 roads as well as fix street lights.
Gulu is one of the 14 municipalities to benefit from the US$150 million World Bank’s urban and infrastructure improvement of service delivery programme. The town authorities are sensitising landlords to have dustbins in their premises. With support from NEMA street litter bins and garbage skips are attached on major roads .
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Mpigi lacks central sewerage system