The collection, transportation and disposal of garbage in Kampala is largely the responsibility of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), according to the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Ordinance 2000. However, Solid waste management is still one of the greatest challenges of not only the Authority but the whole city and this is due to the unfavorable waste management policies, lack of proper assessment of garbage collected in the city, the meagre budget allocated and the lack of public participation and inclusion in the formulation and development of waste management policies. The amount of waste generated in the city, an estimated 1,200 tons of garbage on a daily basis, far exceeds KCCA’s capacity, both technical and financial to manage. Records from the Authority show that of the generated waste, only 40% is collected and the 60% left uncollected. The percentage could even be more but there is no established data base on solid waste for the city.
The uncollected garbage is mainly in informal settlements and this is because they are poorly or as it is in most cases not planned at all in terms of access roads and water and sewer systems, which makes it hard for garbage trucks to access them, but also because most of informal settlements dwellers are not able to afford the garbage collection fees levied by the authority. This is also a privatized service which is an additional strain to the poor communities. The uncollected garbage results into the indiscriminate disposal of wastes, degrading the environment and making livability in the city very challenging. Of the generated wastes, organic wastes account for up to 73.8%.
The model that the Solid Waste Management ordinance 2000 provides for of collection, transportation and disposal at a landfill has high operational and environmental costs. The disposal at the land fill generates pollution, especially water pollution associated with the accumulation of leachates, odors, stenches, health challenge etc. The ordinance also considers the picking of wastes “scavenging’ and prohibits it. This has resulted in endless conflicts with people whose livelihoods depend on waste picking.
Rather than a strategy for ‘closing gap’ in the waste management infrastructure, the Know Kampala City project; Augmenting innovative waste economies to enhance urban livelihoods in informal settlements for inclusive urban development in Kampala: Co-production of knowledge on the energy-waste nexus appreciates the value of organic wastes and seeks to examine alternative means of managing organic wastes and on taking on an ‘opportunities creation approach’. The project takes on organic wastes as a resource, a resource that if well exploited and fully utilized can provide alternative livelihood strategies for the urban poor, improve their incomes and help integrate them into the urban economy.
The alternative means of managing the organic waste by turning it into resourceful products such as energy briquettes is what the Kampala city project is working on. These means have a for a long time remained at a micro scale, with the efforts of turning organic wastes accounting for an estimated less than 5% of the generated organic wastes.
The city project’s overall target is to advance urban equality in Kampala through waste sector transformation that can have spillover effects on other urban sectors, by contributing to the transition of the current micro-scale interventions of energy briquettes to meso and macro-scale within the context of Kampala city-region.
Over the three years of the Know project, a number of activities to achieve the goal and objectives of the city project have been designed, with the main objective of 2019 being; needs assessment, capacity building and validation through Knowledge co-production. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the legally mandated institution to manage wastes, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) and has formed partnerships with ACTogether Uganda and the National Slum Dwellers Federation Of Uganda (NSDFU), KALOCODE, Shelter and Settlement Alternatives (SSA); Uganda Human Settlements Network (UHSNET), Uganda Housing Cooperative Union (UHOCU), LUCHACOS and is led by the Urban Action Lab (UAL), Makerere University.