Uganda: Residents to Pay for Disposal of Garbage

16 September 2019

Residents of Mbarara Municipality are now required to pay for the disposal of garbage.

All communal garbage sites were closed on September 8.

Now Homekline Uganda collects garbage from homes and work places at a cost ranging from Shs500 to Shs3000 depending on the quantity.

The town clerk, Mr Francis Barabanawe, said the old system of collection sites had rendered efforts to maintain cleanliness of the town futile.

He added that managing garbage has been too expensive for the council.

"Garbage is supposed to be taken to the dumping site, then why do we have collecting centres? This has been a mistake for long time. The collection centres have been useless and wasting our time and resources," Mr Barabanawe said.

Mr Barabanawe said they are using National Environment and Management Authority laws that require the generator of the garbage to pay for its disposal, and Mbarara Municipal Council by-laws to prosecute those who defy the regulations.

The chairperson of Kakoba Division, Mr Abbas Kazibwe, said they have been spending a lot of money on garbage management.

"As a division, we have been spending Shs20 million every month on garbage. Imagine people buy matooke, do their business and later leave us the garbage. With this move we can save and at least use the money to construct a classroom block," he said.

The mayor, Mr Robert Kakyebezi, said every leader should support the new arrangement for the good of the town.

"I challenge residents and leaders not to politicise this strategy for the cleanliness and good of our town. We will be saving money and spend it on other developments," Mr Kakyebezi said.

Residents react

Some residents, however, said with the new policy, garbage collectors will charge high fees and others will throw the garbage on the roadsides.

"It seems the contractor has been allowed to charge whatever amount he chooses, he is most likely going to exploit us. Council should have been clear on the garbage fee," Mr Alex Mugyema, a restaurant owner on Markhan Singh Street, said.

"Already garbage was being dumped in water channels. What do you expect now that they have closed the collection sites? We are going to get cholera, they would have maintained collection centres and charge fees from there," Ms Keroy Namaganda, a resident of Biafra Cell in Kamukuzi Division, said.

Restrictions

The Mbarara Municipal Council Senior Enforcement Officer, Mr Benjamin Ssebuliba, said they have deployed enough manpower to arrest those who will be found dumping garbage anyhow.

"We have only one gazetted dumping site in Kenkombe. With the new policy we are also aware of stubborn residents who will be dumping garbage on streets, corridors, water channels, unfinished buildings and undeveloped plots," Mr Ssebuliba said.

Mr Isaac Katureebe, the manager of Homekline Uganda, said the company has the capacity to manage garbage and will work closely with the council and the residents.

Mr Barabanawe said Homekline Uganda has been given a period of three months to prove that it can manage.

He added that the service provider is being monitored to ensure that they do not exploit the residents.

The council will sign a memorandum of understanding after it is satisfied with work of the company.

BACKGROUND

Last Tuesday eight suspects were arrested over illegal dumping of garbage.

They appeared before Mbarara Municipal Council magistrate court presided over by Mr Copan Muhanguzi.

Four paid a fine of Shs150,000 each and four others who failed to pay the fine were sentenced to one month in Kyamugorani prisons.

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