Solid waste management in Soroti Municipality
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Soroti municipality used to be the cleanest town in Uganda (NEMA, 1999). Recently the municipality has lost its status because the problem of solid waste collection and disposal is overwhelming. The municipality is not able to handle all aspects concerning solid waste collection and disposal. The study carried out tries to look into the aspect solid waste management in the municipality. To examine these aspects, the researcher carried out household surveys, field observations, interviews, focus group discussions and secondary data collection within the context of technical, social and institutional analyses. Municipal solid waste for Soroti municipality using the two divisions (Eastern and Northern) as samples is characterized by a high organic content which is typical of most developing countries. The easily degradable waste in the municipality constitutes 84.54% (food, garden waste, paper) while 15.78% constitutes the non degradable waste. On average the MSW contains 37.09% food waste, 40.44% garden waste, 7.01% paper waste and 8.73% plastic. The results also show that percapita generation rate in the eastern division is 0.59Kg/person/day which is slightly higher than that of the northern division 0.57Kg/person/day. The survey results show that the existing solid waste management methods in Soroti municipality include, use of the central collection points (transfer stations) provided by the municipality, skips, burning of waste, dumping of waste crudely into the environment. The most dominant method for household solid waste management in Soroti municipality is burning of waste (40% in Northern division and 24.4% in Eastern division).other methods include use of transfer stations (23.8% in northern and 25.6% in eastern), indiscriminate dumping (16.2% in Northern and 24.4% in Eastern), use of skips (10% in Northern and 24.4% in Eastern). The community on the other hand was willing to participate in household solid waste management through paying for the services (71.2% in Northern and 77.8% in Eastern). From the study 98.8% of the respondents of northern division and all respondents in the eastern division thought that local community involvement in decision making concerning solid waste management can bring about a change in the current situation since they are the main generators of solid waste. All respondents in both divisions were willing to work together as a team. In northern division 42.5% and 34.4% in eastern division were willing to collect their garbage in one place, 38.8% in northern and 36.7% in eastern were willing to sort their wastes at the source. The municipality needs to recognize the need to involve the local community in all aspects of waste management, to privatize some aspects of solid waste management, form partnerships, promote bottom – up and participatory approach in decision making, build capacity and to implement waste management regulations in collection and disposal.