Residents of Abuga sub-county in Omoro District find themselves at odds with the Gulu City administration over the alleged clandestine dumping of garbage and medical waste. Local leaders claim that skips filled with refuse from Gulu City are surreptitiously unloaded in Abuga sub-county, particularly near open barrow pits within villages. The contentious dumping, reportedly ongoing for the past three months, has raised concerns among residents and community leaders.
LC1 Chairman Expresses Frustration
Mr. John Moro, the LC1 chairman of Abuga Village, expressed frustration over the situation, emphasizing the unknown circumstances under which the open barrow pit in their village transformed into a dumping site. Despite a recent resolution to block this activity, concerns persist due to the proximity of the site to water sources crucial for domestic use and its adjacency to Abuga Primary School.
Health and Environmental Risks
Residents fear that the dumped medical waste, discovered amid unsorted garbage, poses severe health risks, especially for children playing in the vicinity and community members using nearby water sources. Despite initial assurances after a meeting with city authorities, the illegal dumping reportedly resumed, creating an unbearable living environment.
Failed Resolutions and Unimplemented Measures
Attempts by Abuga Sub-county authorities to address the issue through resolutions have been unsuccessful, as outlined by Mr. Walter Robby Odongo, the Abuga Sub-county chairman. Complaints from the community and the management of Patuda Health Centre II have prompted calls for immediate action. However, the city’s alleged non-compliance with waste management procedures has further escalated the situation.
Regulatory and Enforcement Challenges
The regulatory landscape for healthcare waste management faces challenges, with limited supervision by urban councils providing leeway for health facilities to improperly dispose of medical waste. Mr. Anthony Banya, the regional head of the Allied Health Professionals Council, emphasized the importance of proper waste management by healthcare professionals despite regulatory gaps.
Gulu City’s Response
Mr. Patrick Oola Lumumba, the Bardege-Layibi Division mayor, acknowledged the ongoing waste disposal issue but attributed it to the city’s landfill refurbishment and expansion. He stated that alternative dumping sites, including Abuga Village, were sought during this process. However, details regarding the nature of the waste and its impact remain unclear, with Mr. Lumumba deferring such inquiries to health facilities.