Jinja’s population and economic development has increased over the years but this has come with change in consumption patterns, poor production together with poor mindset and ignorance about the impact of waste on our health and environment leading to many health and environment challenges.
Waste is only bad if mishandled and can be a resource if properly managed. However, Jinja being a hub of economic activity has greatly contributed to waste generation but this waste has been dumped all over the streets due to poor consumption habits and ignorance.
Street venders plying their trade at the central market said the gap on waste handling is due to lack of better ways to collect the waste. There are no proper collection points for waste across the city streets and this has aided mishandling and poor consumption behaviors by the customers. This has greatly made the work of venders, producers and waste collectors hard as more waste is being generated than what is being collected.
Waste mishandling is increasingly bringing up health risks due too poor sanitation, unsafe water, polluted air and this comes along with increased respiratory, water borne diseases, flooding from blocked water systems and increased pollutants in the environment.
Namulesa market is always buried in a stench from biodegradable waste and animal remains from the slaughter area which ends up polluting the entire market. Waste that is carried on open trucks to Masese dumping site and so many other open dump sites within the city and other urban dwellings in Bugembe, Buwenge have left these places unsafe for human health and wellbeing.
Besides the tireless effort by Jinja city council under public health sector to find better waste management and posters, penalties put up to stop open dumping people have continuously refused to stop open disposal of waste all over the streets and entire district therefore making their work difficult as well waste still remains a bigger challenge to Jinja.
Collection points have been staged at different points around the different entrances to the Jinja central market though not fully being maximized, the waste trucks move door-to-door to pick up waste that is being generated though there are still very many constraints.
“We move door to door picking up rubbish from collection points and homes, but the vehicles to carry the rubbish to the dumping site are smaller and weak to carry the heavy tons of waste,” one of the people offering services in waste pick-ups explained. He also said Masese dumping site is far and time consuming because the trucks are small and cannot carry all the waste that is generated from the daily economic activities and high consumption rates.
A coastar driver that works on from Jinja to Nakabango along Jinja-Kamuli road said waste is still a big problem not only in Jinja and its suburbs but countrywide because of the poor mindset and ignorance as well weak laws on waste management.
He blamed improper waste disposal on individual behavior and poor upbringing, saying that coasters have dustbins but still passengers eat and throw rubbish through the window.
Open dumping and burning of waste by citizens in urban centers of Namulesa, Wanyama, Umbercoart in Jinja are increasingly being threatened with so many health risks among children and cancer cases shooting up. Some of these wastes generated always ends up in water sources causing constraints in clean and safe water, bloods water passages like Budhumbuli Masese wetland have been experiencing flooding because of the blockage caused by waste.