POOP (FEACES) CHOKING MBARARA CITY, ONSITE SANITATION SYSTEM AND FAECAL WASTE MANAGEMENT DISCUSSED
Mbarara City which is based in South Western Uganda is known for the best cattle, milk, matooke and beautiful people however the new description of Kaaro Karungi(beautiful place) is not good at all. 56% of faecal(feaces/poop) material is not well managed according a baseline survey initiated and spearheaded by African Population and Health Research Center(APHRC).
Prof Dr Charles Niwagaba a consultant for African Population and Health Center (APHRC) said the people of Mbarara Municipality spend least on sanitation because they don’t find reason to give it more attention on their expenditure plan for a month.
Niwagaba said this while disseminating the baseline results at a strategic Urban Sanitation Planning Workshop for Stakeholders of Mbarara Municipal Council at Acacia Sky Blue hotel for two days.
The streets and anti-malaria channels of Biafra village, Kamukuzi ward, are so filthy that one of the health inspectors said this makes Mbarara City to be compared with dirtiest slums in Uganda and the World.
Ahamada Sembirige, Chairman LC 1 Biafra village showed the City’s political and technical wing mounds of trash, food leftovers and polythene bags full of poop (faecal material).
“I will say there is more feaces(poop) on the sidewalks, anti-malaria channel than I have ever seen growing up here” Ahamada speaking to leaders on the challenges facing his area.
Landlords build rentals without toilets and leave small spaces to construct pit latrines. At one location the team found 5 small structures serving hundreds of people. When asked how they empty them, the chairman said they dig pits to cover sewerage.
“We empty our toilets manually, sewerage is poured in channels”.
From Biafra, a popular hotel in Mbarara City Center was named for pouring sewerage on streets whenever it rains. Members mentioned the owner in confidence to avoid being labeled anti.
Mrs Joy Kagira, Secretary of Health Mbarara Municipal represented the Mayor, saying behavior change is lacking. The people of Mbarara behave as if they don’t care.
“showing lack of concern and seriousness, its to whom it may concern. The town center on high streets is a bit fair not clean though. We need to enforce on sanitation as a way of showing ownership of our town”.
Mbarara City has been growing rapidly. The 3 sets of Lagoons built 30 years ago can longer handle the sanitation needs.
Moses Kajubi , the Chairman of Nyamitanga Division asked National Water and Sewerage Corporation officials attending the workshop to help in saving the situation.
At Kijungu lagoons, the local leaders said dead bodies of young children and garbage are choking drainages that lead to lagoons. The wire mesh around the lagoons was stolen by young boys dealing in scrap. The stench is threatening lives of people staying near the lagoons.
National Water and Sewerage Corporation says land grabbers have made situation worse around the lagoons. No space for expansion.
Engineer Brian Tushabomwe of National Water and Sewerage Corporation said the Kagera project that is in final design will make sure Mbarara has more treatment facilities.
“We are going to de-sludge the 3 lagoons in Mbarara , extend pipe network but referred media to his boss the General Manager at Mbarara office of National Water and Sewerage Corporation”.
The Report by Africa Population and Health Research Center shows that the long-term costs of unmanaged growth, such as sewer, water, maintenance and services provisions, are far more costly to a community than the initial tax revenues they generate.
“APHRC surveyed 409 households out of 48,000 households with 216,000 people. Manual emptying cost an average of UGX 131,970/= per trip.Emptying by a cesspool method cost UGX 221,667/= per trip,50.5% reported that emptying methods were affordable while 36.7% reportedly said emptying was not affordable”.
The results further show 12.8% were undecided on whether emptying was affordable, 81.8% (207/253) said they were willing and able to pay for emptying, an average of UGX 143,913/= per emptying.
Majority indicated they wouldn’t pay shs 100,000/= for emptying their latrines. 72% (152) reportedly said they would pay up front and 28% were willing to access a loan for effect the emptying.
Faecal sludge is the excreta and waste water that accumulates in onsite-sanitation technologies. However, most faecal sludge is not properly managed with a lack of adequate and safe emptying , no treatment plants, and illegal dumping directly in the environment.
The choked city of Mbarara on poop is grappling with a sickly population and dirty water that has become expensive to treat. In our next article we shall show what leaders are trying to do after APHRC came in.
The lack of access to sanitation facilities combined with poor hygiene status and inadequate faecal sludge management contribute to poor health, undermine economic growth and pollute the environment. About 800 preventable child deaths occur every day in Africa as a result of poor sanitation (UNICEF, 2013). Investments in sanitation can deliver a five-fold return on investment, in social and economic benefits linked to increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs and prevention of illness, disability and early death. In May 2015, leaders across the African continent committed themselves to the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene, which included pledges to create separate budget lines for sanitation and hygiene that will allocate at least 0.5% of GDP for effective sanitation service delivery by 2020.
In light of the above, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), a leading Africa-based, African-led, international research institution with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, is undertaking a research-informed advocacy project on faecal waste management (FWM). The APHRC focusses on multidisciplinary, policy-relevant research and actively engages policymakers and other key stakeholders to help ensure decision-making across the continent is informed by rigorous evidence-based research.
The FWM project, is being implemented in Kenya (Nairobi and Nakuru), Tanzania (Dar es Salaam and Moshi) and Uganda (Kampala and Mbarara). The FW project seeks to leverage on the pledges made, as well as commitments to the SDG’s, and anchor evidence-informed advocacy towards safely managed faecal waste in urban settlements. The twining of cities in the different countries where the FW project is being implemented is strategically done to enable learning between the cities. The cities are at different stages of development, not only economically, but also in terms of infrastructure for waste management.
The FWM project is important more than ever before, since in addition to having access to the toilet, the SDG’s consider safely managed sanitation to incorporate also faecal sludge management. Faecal sludge management (FSM) in this case, comprises of the generation, collection, transportation and treatment to safe use and/or disposal of human excreta.