Kahoora division, which includes the central business area, is the biggest generator of solid waste
PIC: A woman sorting garabge at a waste composit in Busiisi division, Hoima district. (Credit: Robert Atuhairwe)
HOIMA - Hoima municipality is slated to become the "oil city" in the coming years.
However, as more people flock to Hoima town in pursuit of opportunities in the oil sector, there is a growing concern about lack of capacity to handle massive solid waste that usually comes with a high population.
"People's attitudes remain a big challenge to proper garbage collection and disposal. People dump rubbish everywhere, including roads, market and in drainage channels," Jane Byakora, a first-time visitor observed.
The National Population census of 2014, results by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicated that Hoima municipality with a population of 100,625 people, had a population growth rate of 10.7% compared to 3.7% by 2002.
This population is second to Wakiso town with 11.9% which was the highest. The population growth rate is due to the developments in the oil sector.
The oil sector has brought in many people such as investors and those seeking employment.
According to the municipal statistics, solid waste generation rate was 150 to 200 tonnes per day in 2016.
A total of 34.6% of the waste generated at household level was food waste, about 26.8% was plastic, paper and card board made up about 23.9%. The proportion of textiles in the waste was estimated at 7.8%.
Glass contributed to 5.0%, metal and electronics waste portioned to 1.7% and 0.2% respectively. Hoima municipality comprises four divisions; Mparo, Kahoora, Bujumbura and Busiisi.
The new physical plan expanded the municipal council area from 20sqkm to 228sqkm with a road network of 606km.
Kahoora division, which includes the central business area, is the biggest generator of solid waste. Some of the key waste generators include the abattoir, the central market, restaurants, hotels, schools, factories and other processing units in Kiryatete industrial area.
Hoima municipality whose average household size is 4.63 persons per household, the rate of waste generation per household is 4.97 kg.
However, New Vision has established that Hoima municipality is not able to collect all the waste in a day.
The other problem, noted by the dwellers, stems from the municipality's only garbage truck, which is in a sorry state, cannot reach all corners of the town-and purchasing a new garbage truck has not been prioritised by council.
Mary Grace Mugasa, the town mayor, recently said the excessive garbage in the town was due to the indiscriminate dumping habit by the town dwellers.
She said this is partly responsible for poor conditions of infrastructures, especially roads.
However, Bonaventure Kiiza, the municipal engineer, said the municipality has received funding from the World Bank and under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme. A five-year solid waste management strategy and plan has been formulated.
Kiiza said the strategy is associated with control of generation, storage, collection, transportation and disposal in a manner which is in accordance with public health best practices.
The plan, whose implementation starts in July 2018 and is meant to end in 2023, will also help influence community behaviour and attitudes towards solid waste and ultimately promote public participation in waste management.
According to the policy document about the strategy seen by New Vision, Betty Amongi, the lands minister, said proper waste management should be the responsibility of every citizen.
Ronald Kyamanywa, the municipal environmental officer, said the aim of the strategy is to have a clean town free from waste.
He said the plan includes community sensitisation with the right messages, which encourage, and even reward, directly through business opportunity, those involved in reuse and recycling.
The municipal has a waste composite plant at Kibati cell in Busiisi division. The plant, which sits on a three acres, was constructed by the National Environmental Management Authority to help in the effective management of garbage in the municipality. It processes garbage into manure that is sold to farmers at a subsidized fee.