Masaka residents bitter over unutilised landfill

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MASAKA- Masaka Town residents have castigated municipal leaders over failure to utilise the existing landfill, leaving the town littered with piles of uncollected garbage.
As a result, the town is covered by a stench that poses a health threat to people’s lives.

The municipal authorities in 2012 procured a 20-acre piece of land to put up a modern landfill at Bulando Village, which is four kilometres outside Masaka Town. But five years later, it has not been utilised. The land was procured at Shs120m.
The modern landfill and recycling plant were expected to cost more than Shs480m. The council spends at least Shs3.6m every year to rent space for a garbage dumping site at Ssenyange Village located within the municipality. A few months ago, the town authorities were dumping the garbage at Bwala Hill, one of Masaka’s posh suburbs.
The site has since been abandoned since it was situated in the middle of residential houses and schools.

“We had hoped to see change in garbage management in the town when they procured land for a spacious landfill, but this has not been the case. The landfill remains unutilised for five years now and we really wonder what our leaders are up to,” said Mr Peter Muteesasira, a resident of Kyabakuza Trading Centre.
Ms Judith Nabukeera, who operates a restaurant along Elgin Road in Masaka Town, said it takes the Municipality a week to clear a huge heap of stinking garbage located near her restaurant. This has scared away customers.
“The stench from the rotting heaps of garbage scares away some of my customers. I thought about relocating to another place, but I fear it would take long for the customers to get used to the new place,” she said.
Mr John Mawejje, who operates a kiosk selling chapatis, located a few metres from the Masaka main market, also raised similar concerns, saying the delay to collect garbage has compromised the cleanliness of the area.
“We are really at a risk of contracting diseases related to poor hygiene, but our leaders seem unbothered,” he said.

Due to the increasing population within the municipality, some residents have turned almost every open space in town into a garbage dumping site.
Some people dump garbage in the middle of streets at night, while others throw it in flower beds expecting the garbage collectors to remove it in the morning.
The town’s population has doubled in the last decade from 79,000 people to 150,000.

This has led to an increase in garbage generated in a town that is stuck with a challenge of lack of trucks to collect it.
Currently, Masaka Town has only two functional garbage disposal trucks, since other trucks got grounded due to mechanical problems and are parked at the municipality yard. This recently prompted the municipality to procure two additional tractors that move across the town to collect garbage. Masaka Municipality Deputy Town Clerk, Edward Kiwanuka Gwavvu, said they are aware about the garbage problem in the town and it is the reason they procured land at Bulando to establish a permanent land fill.
“We admit that we have a shortage of trucks, but we are doing our best to collect garbage on a daily basis. But when night falls, some people dump it anywhere, which makes it appear like we are doing nothing,” he said, adding: “We need to do a lot of sensitisation to make people understand that in urban areas, garbage is not dumped anyhow.”
Masaka Municipality Mayor, Godfrey Kayemba, said their plan to use the spacious new land fill has been delayed by National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), which has not cleared the environment impact assessment(EIA) report the council gave them.

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