A swarm of flies hovers over a heap of garbage on Nsalo Close, off Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road. As you get closer, a stench from the decomposing waste pricks your nostrils.
The decomposing waste lies inches away from the junction that connects to Old Kampala Primary School.
Nsalo Close stretches from the foot of Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road connecting to Hoima Road just before Bukesa.
Situated in the central division of the city, the place is expected to be free of any dirt.
Daily Monitor did a spot check across all the five divisions of Kampala to ascertain how solid waste is collected and managed and established that although Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) contracted concessionaires to collect solid waste and deposit it at Kiteezi landfill, some of it remains uncollected as it is either dumped on roads or drainage channels.
The contracted companies are Nabugabo Updeal, Homeklin and Kampala Solid Waste Consortium (KSWC). These are supposed to collect solid waste from informal sectors while KCCA only collects from public institutions. But KCCA does not get any money from them.
The companies’ capacity to effectively manage solid waste is still wanting as they are unable to reach all places.
Some of the waste dumped in drainage channels cause backflow of water resulting in flooding. During rainy seasons people’s property is damaged by the floods.
Because of poor collection and disposal of solid waste, the public has accused KCCA of working at a snail-pace to manage waste in the city.
The KCCA executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, in a recent interview with Daily Monitor said city residents have an obligation to pay for the garbage collection.
“KCCA is only responsible for collection of waste from public institutions such as markets, schools, taxi parks and health centres,” she said.
Statistics from KCCA’s waste management department reveal that the city generates 2,200 tonnes of garbage per day. Of which KCCA is supposed to collect and transport 1,000 tonnes while the private companies handle the 1,200 tonnes. But the authority, according to statistics only collects 470 tonnes per day leaving 530 tonnes uncollected.
Ms Musisi said they have 15 garbage trucks which operate across the five divisions of Kampala central, Rubaga, Makindye, Kawempe and Nakawa.
She notes that Kampala requires an additional 50 garbage trucks to achieve the required level of operation.
According to Ms Musisi, one garbage truck costs about Shs800m and that it would require Shs40b to purchase the required number of trucks. KCCA currently operates the Kiteezi landfill at Shs3.32b but Ms Musisi says the money is inadequate.
“To manage the landfill effectively, KCCA requires an additional Shs13b to procure the necessary equipment and leachate treatment materials,” she says.
Solid waste management operates on a budget of Shs4b but the authority says it is meagre.
KCCA’s initial overall budget for 2018/19 Financial Year was Shs47.94b but Members of Parliament on the Presidential Affairs Committee slashed it by Shs18b, bringing it down to Shs461.47b.
The city solid waste management Ordinance, 2000 states that every owner or occupant of a dwelling or commercial premises is responsible for waste generated at those premises until it is collected by KCCA.
Mr Jude Byansi, the KCCA manager of sanitation and waste management, says that from the 2012 agreement, private companies are supposed to charge from Shs3000 to Shs30,000 depending on the amount of garbage generated.
“If you can generate one sack of garbage per week, you pay Shs3,000 but if it is a business, you pay Shs15,000. Informal slum dwellers pay Shs1,000,” he says.
Mr Byansi, howver, admits that the private companies are constrained because people do not pay for the garbage generated.
A recent World Bank report on the role of city governments in economic development of Kampala found out that 62 per cent of people staying in informal settlements, are of low income levels.
With the swelling population in the city where most of the new entrants resort to informal settlements to cut the cost of living, poor disposal of solid waste is inevitable. Though sorting of solid waste for easy collection has been overemphasized, some people are still defiant, making it an uphill task to manage the business.
“The biodegradable, if well sorted, it can be used as manure. We encourage those with gardens to turn it into manure. The non-degradable such as plastics and metals can be recycled,” Mr Byansi says.
Going forward, Mr Byansi says they have started sensitising residents on sorting solid waste for easy collection.
According to KCCA, private companies currently operate in seven zones; zone I and II, which covers Nakawa Division and part of Kawempe, is managed by Kampala Solid Waste Consortium, (KSWC), zone III and zone 4 covering Makindye and Rubaga South divisons and managed by Homklin.
Zone 5 which covers Rubaga North, Rubaga cathedral, Bulange-Mengo, and Kasubi, is managed by Nabugabo Updeal. Nabugabo also manages zone seven which covers the central division.
However, Mr Byansi says zone six, which covers parts of Makerere, Mulago and Kagugube, did not service providers hence being managed by KCCA.
He says, Nabugabo Updeal operating with 10 trucks is the best among the three service providers. For KMSC, Mr Byansi says it is still a young company managed by youth.
He reveals that some of these companies do not have capacity to effectively collect and transport solid waste to Kiteezi.
Mr Ronald Balimwezo Nsubuga, the Nakawa Division mayor, says to effectively manage solid waste in Kampala, the entire system ought to be streamlined and ensure that there is supervision.
“We have a service provider in Nakawa but they take long to respond to the garbage crisis, and many parts in division are never covered. As a result, people resort to dumping wastes anywhere,’ he says.
Mr Balimwezo wonders why KCCA has just looked on despite service providers not fixing the service gaps.
He says KCCA trucks which operate in public institutions across city divisions, normally breakdown.
Currently, Homeklin and KSWC have 34 and 24 small garbage trucks respectively. Mr Byansi says operations of both KCCA and the private service providers are majorly affected by the traffic gridlock, which makes it hard for them to accomplish tasks.
To mitigate this barrier, he says that they are working on plans which will enable them start transporting solid waste at night when traffic jam has reduced.
Mr Abdul Sonko, the director of Nabugabo Updeal says one of their operations are crippled by non-compliance by some residents who do not want to pay garbage fees.
“As Nabugabo, we have been able to improve our services because if you look from where we started, you can appreciate what we are doing as far as collection of garbage is concerned. Residents should be sensitised on their obligation to pay for the garbage collection so that our operations can be boosted,” he said.
According to the Statutory Internal Audit Report for the third quarter of Financial Year 2016/17 that was released by the KCCA director of internal audit, Mr Moses Bwire, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, it was found out the current companies collecting solid waste are incompetent.
The report recommended that the collection of solid waste should be reverted to KCCA for better management. But Ms Musisi says that the institution is financially constrained.
Besides Kiteezi landfill, which was opened in 1993, has since filled up, causing more worry about the management of solid waste in Kampala.
Once garbage is received at Kiteezi, it is leveled and compacted and then covered with murrum. The liquid that comes out during the decomposing process is called leachate but it is very dangerous.
The liquid is collected and treated before being released to the wetland.