A stroll into Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town Council sees you welcomed by a hip of garbage.
The Bwera-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Road submerged into the garbage and a swarm of bees hovering over the garbage at the entrance of Uganda’s furthest town into the West.
A long the road, just adjacent to the garbage, are many food businesses with people selling roasted meat (mchomo), chapatti making, bananas and many other local foods.
Margret Kathungu operates a Kisa Kya Mukama restaurant. She sells local foods there.
According to Kathungu, the garbage has not been collected for the last two weeks.
She says, as a result, people have started shunning her restaurant and as a result she has started making losses.
“We obviously don’t want this garbage here because it is affecting our businesses grossly. But what can we do? We have nowhere and no one to complain from! We are simply in the dark. See what our very own children that we voted into leadership are doing for us. They are not bothered at all!” Kathungu asserts.
Kathungu adds that many of the town council leaders have been evading and now pass without greeting them.
Alimosi Kibwana who sells roasted sweet plantains along the same route claims that their children have started following sick as a result of the garbage.
Kibwana says since most of the women that work around there are mothers, it puts the lives of children at a health risk.
“It brings sicknesses especially diarrhea. You see a child with a swollen stomach. So surely, this garbage should not be in the midst of the people. Leaders should bring us vehicles to collect this garbage from here and dump it somewhere else.” Kibwana divulge.
About 500 metres away from this hip of garbage is yet another very devastating hip of the same at Kalimanga Market in the town.
A very strange odour welcomes into the market that sells foodstuffs including Matooke, groundnuts, beans, cassava sweet plantains, fish and meat.
Yeresi Kyakimwa, a trader, says it has taken more than four months without the garbage being collected.
She says, as a result, many customers have shunned the market and the traders’ sales have dwindled.
“During elections, all leaders promised to ensure that this garbage is removed from, but since this year started, garbage has only been collected once. Even our leaders no longer pass here yet many used to pass here since there was some path here. The place is so stinky, every time we come here we see fecal matter, even customers no longer come here. In the former days, I would retire with about seventy shillings but with this foul smell, I now go home with just about twenty or thirty thousand. “Kyakima quoted.
Kyakimwa appeals to the market authorities to come to their rescue.
But Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town Council Chairman L C III, Sylvester Mapoze, says the garbage has piled in town because the garbage collection vehicles have been constantly been breaking down.
Mapoze says much as the authority is committed to cleaning up the town, there is no way it can be done when all the vehicles have broken down.
He adds that council has agreed to tender out garbage collection in the next financial year so that they are only left with supervising and supplementing the contractor to ensure efficiency.
Mapoze also urges the homesteads to stop bringing their garbage on to the highway but instead to keep it at their homes so that trucks only go pick it from there.
He also says council is in the final stages of procuring a dumping site out of town so that the town free of garbage.