Councillors in Masaka Municipal Council have protested a move by the district authorities to give away a piece of land earlier allocated for a landfill.
Daily Monitor has learnt that the municipal council authorities are in advanced stages of giving away the land to a developer to set-up a modern recreation centre.
The said land, measuring 20 acres, is located at Bulando Village, Mukungwe Sub-county, four kilometres outside Masaka Town.
The municipal authorities procured the land at Shs120m in 2012, to put up a modern landfill. But eight years later, it has not been utilised.
A section of councillors led Mr Siraje Luyima, who represents Nyendo Ward, say the land was purposely bought to house a landfill and allocating it for a different purpose will frustrate the council’s efforts to improve solid waste management in the town.
“Our town is soon becoming a city and it will be embarrassing when we have no gazetted landfill.
If the executive wants to give away that land, they should first secure another piece of land where a modern land fill will be established lest we will not allow anyone to take that land,” Mr Luyima said in an interview on Monday.
Last year, the municipal authorities said construction of a modern landfill had proved to be an expensive venture and they were looking for a partner.
To set up a modern garbage treatment plant, the municipal authorities said they needed more than Shs480m, which they have failed to raise.
Mr John Bakka, a councillor representing the youth, says giving away the land meant for a landfill will be a miscalculation.
However, Masaka Municipality mayor Godfrey Kayemba says they took the decision to utilise the land to set up a modern recreation centre since their plan to establish a modern garbage treatment plant on the land has failed to take off.
“We secured clearance from National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) to start using that landfill, but we have failed to raise the required funds in the last eight years,” he said.
He added: “So, there was no way we could miss a project of more than Shs2 trillion by developers from Turkey who want the land to set up an ultra-modern sports stadium.”
Mr Kayemba, however, assured councillors that they were going to put aside some money in the next fiscal year budget to procure another piece of land where they will construct a modern landfill.
Mr Musa Maberi, the Masaka Municipality health inspector, said the town generates at least 100 tonnes of garbage every week, which he says requires proper planning for its disposal if the council is to improve waste management.
He says they have tried to sensitise town dwellers on how to collect refuse they generate in their homes, but the council still struggles with the problem of poor waste disposal practices because of lack of a central dumping site.
Currently, garbage generated in Masaka Town is dumped at Ssenyange Village located within the municipality where the council pays Shs3.6 million annually on renting the site. Four years ago, the town authorities were dumping the garbage at Bwala Hill, one of Masaka’s posh suburbs, but the site was abandoned since it was in the middle of residential houses and schools, which posed a health threat to the community around.
The town currently has two functional garbage trucks, since other trucks got grounded due to mechanical problems and are parked at the municipality yard. This prompted the municipal authorities to add two more tractors that move around the town collecting garbage, although residents claim sometimes the tractors take long to come for the garbage.