Environmental awareness and solid waste management practices of market vendors in Namugongo Division, Kira municipality, Wakiso district
The management of solid waste stands as the most visible environment problem facing many districts in Uganda, and is attaining worrying dimension with urbanization increment rate in the municipalities and divisions. This has put pressure on the infrastructure which has resulted in many complex problems regarding settlement and waste management. The solid waste problem is visible in most parts of the division centres; on the roads, within the neighbourhoods, around residential buildings and in different places of the urban areas. Failure to address waste management related issues is expected to lead to numerous social and environmental contaminations. The study sought to assess environmental awareness and solid waste management practices of market vendors in Namugongo Division, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District. A cross sectional research design using both quantitative and qualitative methods was used. The sample size comprised of 63 respondents. The study established that market vendors were un aware that papers that have been thrown along the way, plastics that have been dropped or thrown, human wastes, agricultural waste, vegetable peelings, food storage containers, wrapping paper with foil coating, wood treated with preservatives, disposable diapers, and window glasses are solid wastes. On the other hand, they were aware that food waste or left over, polythene papers/bags, used old clothes, mattresses and light bulbs, dead bodies of animals, and broken furniture are solid wastes. Solid waste collection is a shared responsibility performed by the division, municipal council or both based on the terms of agreement in terms of cleaning streets, market solid waste bins and drains in the market. Furthermore, land fill, collection centre, a pit for burning, using personal bin and random disposal were rated as ineffective waste disposal practices. In addition, the challenges faced in the management of solid waste are; the task of garbage collection is not fully to vendors, there are no strict laws to prevent people from disposing garbage anywhere, some waste cannot be used, the municipal authorities take long to collect waste from bins, the collection sites are very few and used badly, the food and other organic wastes attract insects which in turn smell a lot, and containers and other plastics store rain water and host mosquitoes that cause malaria. The study recommends the need to improve public awareness of, and community participation in, waste management since this will create sustainable waste systems.