The booming scrap metal business has exacerbated the vandalism of garbage bins installed along major roads in Arua city, northern Uganda.
The metallic bins were installed along the newly constructed roads under the Uganda Municipal Infrastructural Development (USMID) project funded by the World Bank. However, most of the litter bins have since been vandalized by unknown people for scrap metal.
The most affected roads are; Enyau road, Arua Avenue road, Lemerijoa road, Iddi Amin road, School road, Hospital road and Adroa road. The absence of litter bins has forced locals to resort to dumping garbage by the roadside which produces a filthy smell.
Arua city principal health inspector, Godfrey Apangu explains that along Arua Avenue road, over 15 litter bins have already been vandalized which has complicated their efforts towards sustainable waste management in the city.
"If we go along Avenue road here, we'll count the footmarks of street bins that have been cut by our people. We can count not less than 15. It is a big challenge to our waste management sector," said Apangu.
Arua city youth council chairperson Favorite Edeti says that there is a need to sensitise the locals about the importance of these roadside litter bins such that residents can appreciate the need to protect them.
"Some people do not even know why these things are put there. They just think they are just put there. We really to sensitise the community about the roadside bins and the cleanliness of our city because majority of our people do not know their responsibilities," said Edeti.
According to Simon Enatu, the male youth councillor for Arua city, the culprits have taken the absence of street lights on some of the affected roads to cut the bins at night. Enatu further says that the ready market for scraps in the city has further worsened the situation.
"Vandalism is there, cutting off these signposts, road signs. People have been cutting them for scrap and most times you realise that the young people have been blamed for this," Enatu said.
Over the past few years, waste management has been a challenge for Arua city authorities. In FY 2018/2019, the World Bank named Arua as one of the dirtiest towns in Uganda due poor garbage management. Elsewhere across the country, electric poles have also been vandalized for scrap metal, affecting power supply in some areas.