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Why KCCA sweepers dump waste, soil in drainage channels

A KCCA sweeper on duty

A KCCA sweeper on duty

Every weekday hundreds of casual labourers employed by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) sweep streets and various roads in the city to keep them clean.

Working in groups of five, the labourers are required to sweep and collect garbage at a specific point for collection by garbage trucks that take it for final disposal at the Kiteezi landfill. However, some of the labourers act to the contrary. URN has repeatedly observed several labourers pushing garbage and lumps of soil in the drainage channels, which worsens flooding whenever it rains in the city.

This practice is common along Mambule road in Bwaise, Kawempe Division, Kasule road in Wandegeya, Bwaise-Nabweru road and Kawempe Ttula road among others. A female labourer in her 50s who declined to disclose her name said the garbage collection points are placed far apart yet most of them cannot carry the tons of dust gathered. Majority of the labourers are old women. 

"There is a lot of dust and silt on the road. You cannot lift it to the collection points, which are close to half a kilometer away. What we do is to remove the garbage. For the dust, you either sweep it directly into the channel or collect it at several points and pour it into the drain somewhere close," she said.  

According to the KCCA guidelines, such workers are supposed to have a wheelbarrow to carry the garbage but many improvise with bags. Another labourer, who only introduced herself as Namatovu, said that KCCA has not provided them with enough equipment to facilitate their work.

She says they have to share a wheelbarrow among more than ten people, which becomes hard for them yet they need to finish their work as early as possible to let city dwellers carry on their duties efficiently.

"We don't have enough wheelbarrows to transport the garbage to a collection center. And you know when you're sweeping, you want to hurry so that the sun doesn't find you still on the road," said Namatovu.

Waswa Bukenya, who lives near a trench in Nabweru, says that KCCA needs to equip its workers well and sensitive them on the danger of dumping in drainage channels. He says when channels are silted; it exposes the people neighbouring the drains to flooding during the heavy downpour.

Jude Byansi, the manager sanitation at KCCA, says that their supervisors have made similar observations and received reports pertaining casual workers dumping waste in drainage channels. Byansi acknowledges the fact that the Authority lacks sufficient equipment to use in cleaning and collecting garbage in the City.

He says ideally each group of five people should have a wheelbarrow but they are currently experiencing a gap where more than five groups comprising 25 people share a wheelbarrow.

"The casual workers are not well facilitated yet we want them to deliver clean roads. Some of the wheelbarrows are too old, apart from being insufficient. So, they are constrained but they should not be dumped in the drains either. We also don't have enough garbage collection trucks," said Byansi.

There are only 21 operational garbage trucks, which collect garbage from different parts of the city. There are also private companies offering the services at a fee. However, for road cleaning, KCCA trucks collect the garbage. Eng Brian Baagala, the KCCA manager for drainage, says that the frequent disposal of solid waste in open drainage channels is a key contributor to localized flooding in Kampala due to blockage of inlets, drainage channels & culvert crossings. 

He however says that residents dump much of the waste in channels. He says most of the sand is concentrated in drains in the central business district where a lot of flooding is experienced during rainy seasons. KCCA desilts drainage channels every three weeks or depending on need and spends over Shs 800 million on casual workers.


0 #1 WADADA rogers 2021-07-19 13:00
Guess the answer is that they are paid to sweep roads and not to collect rubbish that they have swept yet they cant leave it on the roads, so storing it in drainage channels is the best option for them.

Besides, have you have seen KCCA trucks moving about collecting the swept waste, the answer is no meaning whatever the sweepers are doing is know by KCCA
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0 #2 kabayekka 2021-07-19 14:28
Unfortunately these are African drainage channels that should be phased out in these African cities.

The engineers know very well what should be done so that this city looks a better African city in 30 years time.

If at this rate of city underdevelopment in employment the management of this city continues to fail to modernize how this city is run, well it is going to look very bad for the children of this country to watch their parents in 30 years time sweep this city as they are doing now.

Such jobs must not be allowed in this international city for reasons of human health and traffic accidents!
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0 #3 kabayekka 2021-07-19 14:41
The colonialists improved on this Kampala city by using cheap employment in building roads, cleaning them up, and mind you cows were the ones which used to pull working wagons loaded with working equipment.

The city used not to have street lights. Sewage was also transported by wagons. There was no piped water even when Kampala at Luzira sits on one of the biggest fresh lakes in the world.

No one these days wants to go back to those days surely even if the colonialists left this country 60 years ago.
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+1 #4 rubangakene 2021-07-19 17:47
The solution is to cover the drains and leave small grills at intervals for water to drain away.

Open sewers cause accidents to pedestrians apart from transmitting diseases.
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0 #5 ugthinker 2021-07-19 19:28
WHY do we have people sweeping and sometimes washing that middle concrete separator with their hands on Munyonyo Express with such a high speed limit, is it safe for those workers?

Why can’t KCCA buy a motorised road sweeper with high powered pressure washer for this stretch? I’m sure it would even be cheaper than paying all these people who work under such a high risk!
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+2 #6 Uhuru 2021-07-20 10:53
Well, I know many of you will descend on me like a swam of bees but truth be told that Kampala is the dirtiest and most dilapidated city in the world.
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0 #7 kabayekka 2021-07-20 16:13
Uhuru how can we descent on you like the stupid bees as if you have got honey all over your body.

Most people who have travelled look at a city and try to plan to come back and enjoy it if they see and feel that city is worth to take all their money.

And people with money are not stupid. If Kampala is one of the African dirtiest and most dilapidated city in the world and the rich love it, they will bring in their money and of course the dirty African politicians will love to live on that sort of money like bees on honey!
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