UCAA sensitises Entebbe residents on bird hazard management

Some of the Nakiwogo landing site residents and market vendors pose for a photo with UCAA officials after the sensitisation exercise on waste management on June 20, 2024. PHOTO | EVE MUGANGA

What you need to know:

  • Eng Sooma Ayub, Director of Airports and Aviation Security, emphasised the dual challenge faced in Entebbe, being both a bird sanctuary and a crucial aviation hub.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) conducted a sensitization exercise for vendors at Nakiwogo Landing site and market on proper waste management practices to mitigate bird hazards, which pose significant risks to aircraft during take-offs and landings.

Addressing the vendors on Thursday at the UCAA headquarters in Entebbe, Eng Sooma Ayub, Director of Airports and Aviation Security, emphasised the dual challenge faced in Entebbe, being both a bird sanctuary and a crucial aviation hub.

He explained that UCAA maintains a Bird Hazard and Wildlife management section to undertake runway sweeps and other activities to ensure that there are no birds in the vicinity of the runway prior to a landing or take-off.

“The purpose of this is to ensure that birds do not collide with aircraft, which leads to tremendous damage to aircraft engines and disastrous accidents, which cost lives and property. Therefore, every effort must be put in place to ensure that this does not happen,” he said.

Eng Sooma further noted that, “this engagement to sensitize the Nakiwogo community on waste management is one of the measures aimed at ensuring that they become more knowledgeable about bird activity and behavior to avoid disposal habits that attract birds in and around the airport environment. Birds know no boundaries; they can feed in Nakiwogo and sleep at the airport.”

Uganda is endowed with over 1,000 different bird species and Entebbe is a migratory path for birds from Europe.

He noted that some of the measures to prevent convergence of birds in and around the airport, include monitoring of bird attractants like water ponds. “Entebbe is a peninsula, which means it has many water ponds that attract insects. The insects attract birds,” he said.

The Chairperson Division B, Entebbe Municipality, Mr Richard Ssekyondo, commended UCAA for mobilising the Nakiwogo community for such an important engagement, and re-emphasised the importance of having a safe airport, which attracts business and more tourists to the country.

“One of the Division B mandates at the LC III level is to keep the city clean. The other is to liaise with key stakeholders who trade in fish and restaurant food vendors. Now that we are aware that poorly disposed left overs attract insects and birds, which are a danger to aircraft, we can now go back and further sensitise others,” Mr Ssekyondo said.

He noted that it was time for garbage not to be looked at as a burden, but as a raw material.

“If the residents could be further sensitised to know more purposes of rotting and non-rotting garbage, the residents can engage in productive activity that takes them out of poverty,” he said.