As one of the older town councils in this country, Apac ought to be doing a lot better. This is not the case though. It probably is one of the dirtiest and most underdeveloped in the country. This town in Lango sub-region, lies 260km north of the capital Kampala via Masindi Port. However, the road
trueIn the Make Uganda Clean campaign, Vision Group will be profiling major urban centres in the country, highlighting their sanitation situation, with a view to recognise the cleanest towns towards the end of November. Today, we bring you profile of Apac
By Stephen Ssenkaaba and Boniface Odongo
As one of the older town councils in this country, Apac ought to be doing a lot better. This is not the case though. It probably is one of the dirtiest and most underdeveloped in the country. This town in Lango sub-region, lies 260km north of the capital Kampala via Masindi Port. However, the road distance stretches to about 400km via Lira.
Apac was carved out of Lira district way back in 1977. This gave Apac the mandate to mobilise funds, plan for its residents and establish development strategies. The town is surrounded by bush, infested with mosquitoes and decorated with wobbly mud-and-wattle buildings that might collapse any time.
It is not surprising that Apac town, though a good number of residents say it is clean, is famous for being one of world’s leading harbour of mosquitoes and highest prevalence of malaria.
The main street in Apac town council. Photos by Boniface Odongo
A Vision Group survey conducted recently on the state of sanitation in the town revealed appalling conditions. The survey was based on the views of various town dwellers of different walks of life. It indicated concerns over poor state of roads, waste management and public toilets.
According to the poll, respondents said they were dissatisfied with the general cleanliness of the town, the number of the dustbins, which they said were insufficient. A whole 83% of the respondents said they had ever seen someone litter the town.
While 79.3% of the respondents said they were aware of a public toilet somewhere in the town, they observed that these toilets were very dirty, rating the town at a modest 1.6/10 score on this front. On average, it costs sh140 for the public to access toilets here and while some people might find this fee as fair, many who cannot afford it use unconventional means. The entire town has two public toilets. For a population of 13,000, this means one toilet for every 6,500 people.
There is no central sewer system. This has put Apac town at a disadvantage and has made hygiene in the town even more complicated. Access to clean water in the town remains a great challenge as most people collect water from Arocha swamp despite the town having piped water, which is complemented by two boreholes.
Despite being connected to the national grid, power supply is irregular. For the few residents who can afford, generators have become an alternative, but for most, this is beyond their means; thus opting for kerosene lamps.
The town still has a number of bushy areas. Indeed, 86.2% of respondents said they had seen overgrown grass in the town and that this grass is poorly maintained.
Stray animals are a big problem in this town littering it with dung and making Apac more dirty. According to the survey, respondents rated the town poorly at 3.3/10 on this.
Robert Etime, the town council LC3 chairman said rules have been put in place to curb loitering animals and the rules subject owners to heavy fines.
trueThe town council partly on the council’s inability to pay for the facilities and manpower to clean up the town. With just sh690m budget to cater for all the town projects, he said many crucial services like sanitation suffer inadequate funding.
Etime says despite the hardships the town thenewvisioncouncil has plans to upgrade more roads to tarmac with the hope that the Government will consider elevating the town council to a municipality.
In a bid to keep the town clean, Etime says they have officially made every Thursday a Sanitation Day where general cleaning, hygiene promotion and hygiene inspection will be done.
All homes and shops are expected to have dustbins for collecting rubbish before carrying it to a garbage skip. This will be managed by recycling the garbage and turning it into manure.
Although Arocha swamp serves most residents, there is a plan to expand access to clean water within the town council.
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Apac, the hub of mosquitoes