This is a personal account provided to WasteAid through our eyewitness campaign.

Please describe the waste situation where you live.

There are two scenarios of my environment – where I live and work are too different stories:
In my country home, the kind of waste is about household waste and in most cases is perishable. For example, when elders peel sweet potatoes and bananas, the peelings are given to domestic animals as a food supplement or thrown into banana plantation which ends up as manure. However, the dumping isn’t controlled which ends up being too much manure at a given point and yet it’s lacking at another point. Sometimes you find it smelling like flies since the items are not separated-it is definitely ugly looking you find a mixture of things mixed with rainwater.

Indiscrimate dumping n Fort Portal Uganda_Simon Kateeba

Do people have to take their waste somewhere or is it collected and taken away from people’s homes? Is it transported by hand, cart or motor vehicle?

At the household level in villages there is no collection or recycling; it only depends on individual knowledge of hygiene.
On the other hand, some rich homes have provided dumping pits which are separated by perishables and non-perishable. This is at a very low rate for as much as it is emphasized by the government. Later on, the government truck picks and transports it to a dumping site from where it is generated into organic manure.

How do most people deal with their waste? Are they generally happy with the situation or not? Why?

In my work environment Kabundaire market in Fort Portal Municipality. We have an open space provided by the government to farmers to sell their fresh products. In this market, wastes are dumped at one point – the extreme end of the market and are supposed to be collected by the government truck on daily basis but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. You find a mixture of wastes pailing for close to four days sometimes with water running through, stinking, and with flies all over.  Farmers dump wastes anyhow, cleaners without gloves and gumboots sometimes collect it and hip at one point. Before the government service truck picks the waste it makes everyone close to it feel uncomfortable.

Do you reduce your waste at home?

Yes, we reduce by burning the plastics and giving the peals and plant remains to our domestic animals at home.

Are you aware of problems caused by waste where you live?

Generally, in town, there are specific days when the service truck comes around streets to pick household wastes. However, this process is equally irregular. What happens people pack wastes in sacks until the truck comes around. Sometimes you find a given household has more waste than they can accommodate and this makes them uncomfortable.

Discomfort which results into stomach upsets is one key problem this is associated with loss of appetite due to the disgusting odor especially for people who are operating business next to dumping points.

Secondly, contamination of water points by plastic bottles and rotten waste which are scattered everywhere and later directed to the rivers by running rainwater. This later results in an outbreak of chronic diseases like diarrhea dysentery and typhoid.

Dumped waste by businesses_Fort Portal_Uganda_Simon Kateeba
Simon Kateeba_Dumped waste at reoadside_Fort Portal

Are there any good things happening with waste that you would like to share?

Here in Fort Portal waste is taken to the dumping point where organic manure is generated from.

If you could make one change in how waste is managed, what would it be and why?

If I had the opportunity to change the way waste is managed I would launch a participatory and vendor-focused hygiene campaign (Keep Fort Portal the cleanest City in Uganda) where everyone becomes vigilant to the neighbors on how and where waste is thrown.

Secondly, I would construct collection (structures/containers) points in town, employ waste collectors who walk along the streets every day, and ensure hygiene. These I would equip with all the necessary safety gear, tools, and training to ensure efficiency and commitment to the job. On top of the human resource, I would provide a reliable truck and or trucks that collect wastes which are tailored to the waste management model.

Who do you think is responsible for improving the waste situation?

Individuals, nature lovers, local government, and non-government organisations.

Imagine the year is 2030 and we are looking back at how humans solved the waste challenge. How did we do it? What do you think made the biggest impact?

Working together with the local government, non-government organisations, and individuals will bring a very big impact

Final comments:

If I have funds I would ensure the recycling of collected products for which I would majorly engage women and youth (taking care of gender inclusion) who are less privileged. I would train them in different end products that can generate quick income for them such as Basins, shoes, and tiles. To achieve this, I would buy land out of town, construct an industry specifically for re-cycling all the waste products.

I can’t imagine how happy I would be if I achieved this!!! Oh my God, I would be the happiest person in Fort Portal town and spread over it Western Uganda.

Dumped waste by homes_Fort Portal Uganda_Simon Kateeba
Waste pollutes groundwater_Fort Portal_Uganda_Simon Kateeba

Thank you Simon, for becoming a WasteAid eyewitness.


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