Health Hazard Looms at Namirembe Landing Site

2156 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
A URN reporter visited the site and established that although a toilet facility once existed, it was closed down three years ago due to lack of cesspool services. As a result all dwellers resolved to utilize the forest reserve for the purpose. Authorities say at least Ugx 1 million was needed to empty the latrine.

A severe health hazard looms at Namirembe landing site 30kms East of Masaka Town where over 5000 fishermen excrete in a nearby forest reserve. The place is now surrounded by heaps of human waste covered with flies and an unpleasant stench.

A URN reporter visited the site and established that although a toilet facility once existed, it was closed down three years ago due to lack of cesspool services. As a result all dwellers resolved to utilize the forest reserve for the purpose. Authorities say at least Ugx 1 million was needed to empty the latrine.

Rogers Asiimwe, a resident of Namirembe landing site says the facility failed to operate because the fishermen had stopped contributing the Ugx 100 charged for using the service. It later broke down due to lack of maintenance.

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George Kiwanuka, the Namirembe LC1 Chairman says they resolved to use the forest reserve to avoid littering the landing site with fecal material. 

Vincent Kabunga, a fisherman at Namirembe admits using Namirembe forest reserve. He explains that while he uses a hoe to dig a hole and use it for defecation, majority of other people defecate in the open. Kabunga admits the scenario is embarrassing.

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Ruth Nanyonga, a health worker at Namirembe Health centre says the deplorable sanitation conditions are worrying and taking a toll on the health especially of the children in the community. She adds that at least 5 cases of diarrhea are recorded every week at the center.

Rwecungula Michael, the proprietor of Brandon Beach at Namirembe landing site has asked government to sensitize the fishermen on toilet etiquette since majority of them find the current arrangement acceptable.

However, Paul Migadde, the Kyanamukaka sub county LC3 Chairman says they failed to put up an ecological sanitation latrine because of lack of funds. He says they budget and realized that they needed more than Ugx 85 million. Migadde says the sub county that gets Ugx 25million every financial year cannot afford putting up a latrine at that cost.

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About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.