UGANDA: Masaka residents dumping feces in Lake Victoria, choking on garbage
|Encroached. A man collects garbage at Lambu Landing Site in Bukakata Sub-county in Masaka District last Saturday. PHOTO BY ALI MAMBULE|
Masaka (DAILY MONITOR) – Residents of Lambu Landing Site and Bukibonga Parish in Bukakata Sub-county, Masaka District have resumed dumping solid waste matter into Lake Victoria, a vice that had ceased three years ago, Daily Monitor has established.
They claim that the solid waste generated in the area is not collected frequently and the two tractors government donated to the area to collect it have since been diverted by area leaders to work on private farms.
In 2015, government through the Ministry of Water and Environment constructed a water supply system and solid waste management sites for Bukakata Sub-county which were handed over to National Water and Sewerage Corporation and later to the sub-county leadership for management.
The solid waste management sites and the equipment, which included two tractors and 15 garbage skips, were intended to enable the local leaders get rid of unwanted solid waste in the area.
A couple of weeks ago, a section of residents stormed the office of the sub-county chairperson, Mr Aloysius Jjuuko, protesting the arrangement of hiring the tractors not only to individual farmers within Bukakkata Sub-County but even to those in other sub-counties in Masaka District.
Mr Simon Ssekindi, a resident of Lambu Landing Site, says it is a responsibility of the leaders to ensure that the tractors are used for the purpose they were bought for.
“Hiring them [tractors] was not in the agreement when government was donating the tractors. It really defeats my understanding to learn that the tractors meant for collecting garbage are currently working on private farms. It is so sad and unacceptable,” he said during an interview on Saturday.
Lambu is one of the biggest and populated landing sites in Masaka District. But it has for long faced a challenge of poor solid waste disposal with the fishing community littering it anyhow.
In an interview on Saturday, Mr Jjuuko admitted that the tractors are being hired out to private farmers at as little as Shs200,000 per day, an arrangement he says was initiated by the Bukakkata Sub-county chief, Ms Sarah Nandawula.
But Ms Nandawula declined to comment on the matter.
Following an outcry from residents, the Ministry of Water and Environment this month intervened and instructed the sub-county leaders to stop the practice of hiring the tractors and also cautioned those who use them at their farms.
“….the project’s main objective was to protect Lake Victoria from pollution and it was observed that Bukakkata Fish Landing sites generate a lot of solid waste which will contaminate the lake if not collected frequently,” a July 19 letter signed by Mr Herbert Nuwamanya, the programme manager in the Directorate of Water Resources Management, reads in part.
Mr Nuwamanya signed the letter on behalf of the ministry permanent secretary, Alfred Okot Okidi.
Mr David Kureeba, an environmentalist and programme coordinator at National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), says continued dumping of solid waste and other materials into the lake is disastrous and threatens its existence.
He advises government to move faster and check the poor solid waste disposal as the population continue to grow at various landing sites along shores of Lake Victoria.
“Some of those people at landing sites are engaging in agriculture and the more they dig into the banks, the lake suffers from siltation and this has negative impact on the fish stocks,” he says.
About the lake
Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest fresh water lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America.
The unchecked disposal of solid waste matter at both Lambu and Bukakkata landing sites is what occurs at most fishing communities around Lake Victoria.
Due to lack of toilets, some households at these sites use buckets and polythene paper as lavatories which they keep dumping in the lake.
Some solid waste pours directly into the lake following the degradation of wetlands which previously filtered waste matter.
According to Water Aid Uganda recent findings, around 26,000 children die every year from diarrhoea which is caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
A 2010 UN habitat brochure on the water and sanitation initiative in landing sites on Lake Victoria found that 76 per cent of the population lacks access to sustainable supplies of safe drinking water; 72 per cent lacks access to improved sanitation whereas less than five percent of the garbage is being collected by the local authorities.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: July 29, 2018 at 08:20PM