Continued Waste-d resource
Globally, poor sanitation is one of the main causes of ill health and socio-economic problems. Poor sanitation is also a major development obstacle in most developing countries like Uganda (Mara 2003, UNICEF and WHO 2010). However, prioritisation and investments in solid waste management by individuals and governments in most developing countries is limited, creating an imbalance between the population’s needs and the available services. In this case, waste refers to the solid waste generated from households, markets, and commercial establishments, and human excreta from the population.
In Kampala city, solid waste is managed by Kampala Capital City Authority in collaboration with private companies. Available information shows that each household in Kampala generates approximately 1.5 kg of solid waste per day. Going by Kampala’s population estimated at 4.5 million (UBOS), it is predicted that about 50,000 tonnes of waste are generated in Kampala per day. However, on average, only 40% is collected. The rapid population growth and changing lifestyles in urban centres are important drivers to the increasing quantity and changing composition of the waste.
The increasing quantity of waste in urban towns of developing nations coupled with inadequate sanitation services is of a growing concern to the deteriorating urban environment, where the population size varies exponentially with time as a function net growth rate. Because of limited funds and inappropriate priorities, it is only the business districts and affluent neighbourhoods that have adequate solid waste collection. The informal settlements are characterised by heaps of uncollected solid waste, no sewerage system and poorly operated and maintained on-site sanitation. This pollutes water sources and poses health risk to the public.
The quantity and composition of waste generated are the basic information for designing sustainable waste management systems. A sustainable waste management system must meet environmental, economical, technical and socio-political goals, and resilient to changes. The central hypothesis is that waste generation rate in a defined system should be lower than the rate at which it is absorbed
Approximately 20,000 tons day-1 of the solid waste is disposed in the sanitary landfill at Kitenzi, which is 40% of the total solid waste generated. From these, about 200 tons month-1 of recyclables such as plastics, metals, and papers and cardboard are scavenged. The solid waste disposed in the landfill is mainly from the business districts and the affluent residents where Private Service Providers are actively involved
The low-income residents rarely receive full solid waste collection services due to inability to pay for the waste collection services. This would therefore require the full support of KCCA to work with the communities in managing the solid waste in the low-income residents.
Current urban waste management, particularly the solid waste in Kampala is inadequate and lags behind due to inadequate enforcement officers, low composting and recycling. The “proper management” scenario should show the best waste management options in improving the environmental quality as well as resource recovery. Most of the available options reduce the negative impact but are not sustainable in terms of implementation. The co-composting of organic solids with human excreta at household or community levels will lead to a centralised approach of urban waste management, so it’s high time we started practising sustainable engineering from architects to structural engineers. Thus, solid waste segregation and co-composting organic solid waste with human excreta, awareness and enforcement enhancement improves the urban environmental quality, and enhances resource recovery with public participation in regulating and monitoring waste generation. Thus, strategy that maximises recovery of organic waste would improve the urban environmental quality and as well as extend the life span of the landfill. Waste to energy should be one of the priorities to spear head the sustainability and extending the life span of the landfill. With the government expenditure on current energy projects and emphasis on fertiliser manufacturing, attention should be shifted to such sustainable far-reaching solutions. Cleaner sustainable solutions and improved environmental quality comes at a cost that soon or later will have to be paid.