The department of Appropriate Technology Center -ATC for water and sanitation under the Ministry of Water and Environment has started community engagements on waste management in various communities.
ATC was started in 2010 to undertake applied research, development and promotion of water, sanitation and hygiene using appropriate technologies in Uganda. It is now engaging individuals involved in small businesses of adding value on waste materials to improve their products so that they attract a better market.
The ATC Coordinator Ashabrick Nantege says they are looking at circular economy promotion to develop a holistic approach to waste management. She notes that what is considered to be waste is about 85 percent material in transit that can be re-used in a way that protects the environment and public health.
Nantege says they are now focused at tracing and identifying people involved in the business of adding value to waste. They have so far started engaging such people in districts of Mukono, Kayunga and Mayuge but with hopes of enrolling the project in the entire country.
Currently the project provides demonstration studies in improving wastes to make among others dust bins out rubber tires, charcoal briquettes from organic wastes, bio enzymes, tiles from plastics, lamp holders, bags, sanitary towels, bed pillows out polythene and baskets at their center located at Kauga Mukono.
According to Nantege over 600 tons of waste dumped in the environment every year, about 10 tons are recovered which puts the environment and public health in danger.
Daniel Kayemba a worker with Ecobrix a company dealing in recycling of plastics to make wielding face shields and tiles at Mukono and Masaka says the community has been ignorant about values attached to waste. He notes that even those who have been trying to involve in adding value to waste struggle to find market for their products.
Sadam Buyinza who deals in collecting bottles and papers says the development will attract people into the business which will help in reducing solid waste from many towns. He says the business has been known to be for destitute people whom the community at times term as mad people.
“Transporting waste from the community to our centers is expensive, we end up saving little from this waste”
The Mukono Municipal Mayor George Fred Kagimu says since the initiative has started here in Mukono will them reduce on time taken to separate waste as many people will start to see value in waste.
“This is something that the community should embrace as an employment opportunity but at the same time promoting hygiene at work places and homes. In a long run it will also save the municipality money invested in collection of waste on streets.” Kagimu says.