Other than traffic jam, there is no greater challenge facing cities than waste management and disposal in urban areas. Cities spend huge amounts every day and every year to dispose garbage. Come to think about it, cities spend a lot of resources to do away with what they don’t need! According to KCCA, every individual generates about 1Kg of solid waste per day. This means that on average, the city authority has a burden of collecting and safely disposing up to 2,200 tones of waste from the city into the land fills. It’s quite a gigantic task.
It is estimated that KCCA spends an average of $15 Million to collect garbage in the city. Even then, they are able to collect only 60% leaving the rest to rot away within the city or is washed into water channels, swamps and slums. The city currently operates two landfill stations which are Kiteezi in Nangabo, Wakiso and the other at Ddundu on Kayunga Road (35kms) from the city which was recently opened.
Although most of the garbage generated in Kampala is organic (food by products and matoke peels) and can easily decompose, all the same it has to be safely evacuated to avoid a stench such as the one common near Nakasero Market. In Europe and the Western world, a large percentage of waste is made up of industrial waste, ie. paper, bottles, and old utencils. Besides most cities in this part of the world sort their waste at source which makes it easier for picking and determining how and where to dispose it In Kampala, the city has a long way to change people’s perceptions and attitudes about disposing waste. Most people maintain the village mentality where waste can be disposed off anyhow because the places to dispose are available and the waste is not much anyway. There are three private garbage (Kasasiro) collecting companies that are licenced do the job, but they cannot collect the one in public places. They only collect from private homes and commercial areas.
So what options are available for Kampala city to manage her garbage effectively? Unfortunately, there aren’t many. We can highlight only two. The first is to buy land nearer to the city where they can can establish an incineration unit. This incinerator could also generate some electricity as well. This option is not environmentally friendly but it will help a lot in the medium term. The second option which is rather long term is to pave most public places especially roads. Research indicates that in addition to being easier to clean and pick garbage from paved areas, human beings tend to respect places that appear cleaner and tidier by not dirtying them compared to those areas which appear already dirty. It’s five times more likely for an individual to throw garbage in a place that is already dirty than a clean one. A clean place naturally attracts respect from the public. It’s very unlikely for instance for people to throw rubbish on Acacia avenue compared to the dusty neighbourhoods in Kyebando. Therefore cleanliness attracts cleanliness and the reserve is also true. Kampala is dirty because it is dirty. People make it dirty because it’s already dirty.