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Jinja Leaders Root for Ordinance to Curb Open Excretion

Jinja municipality city is filled with a foul stench and unpleasant sights arising from men and women eliminating waste in open spaces, rivers, gutters, streets and behind bushes without dignity or privacy.
Abandoned Rippon Garden Public Toilet in Jinja Central Division

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Leaders in Jinja district are rooting for an ordinance to bar open excretion

They argue that open defecation poses problems to human health and to the environment in areas where people eliminate waste in close proximity to homesteads.

Deborah Kazoora, the Lubas road village chairperson says the practice has become increasingly common because of the absence of a legal framework within which culprits can be apprehended.

The most affected areas are within Jinja central division are Rippon and Nile Gardens, Lubas, Oboja, Iganga, Clive, Alidina roads and Main Street. The access routes between buildings in the town are filthy, filled with a persistent smell of urine and human excreta.

As a result, she says, Jinja municipality city is filled with a foul stench and unpleasant sights arising from men and women eliminating waste in open spaces, rivers, gutters, streets and behind bushes without dignity or privacy.

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Jinja District Local Council II Chairperson Grace Kiirya says all the five public toilets in the division are nonfunctional. Some of the structures have since been taken over by street children who use them as their place of abode. 

Kiirya says the public toilets located in Rippon Garden, Plot 15 Lubas road, Clive road East, Haj Tarmac and at Rippon landing site need to be rehabilitated in order to deal with the current toilet crisis in Jinja Central Division.

Meddie Mbentyo, a Councillor in Jinja Central Division says that bureaucracies attached to enforcement of by laws in Uganda frustrate efforts to improve public health. He says that several ordinances in line with public health and sanitation were passed in 2012 but were never endorsed by the line Minister.

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But Tom Odoi, Jinja municipal chief Health Inspector says management if public toilets is costly.

One toilet can take at least 300,000 Shillings to maintain, yet the municipal council cannot charge people for the public toilets that were constructed to provide free services. He however says an ordinance to back up the Public Health Act of 1935 should be passed and implemented to curb urinating and defecating in public by imposing uniform penalties.

The Public Health Act 1935 stipulates it is the duty of local authorities to prevent or remedy danger to health arising from unsuitable dwellings.

In a bid to curb the vice in Jinja people have taken it to themselves to impose cash fines between 5000 to 1,000,000 million Shillings, which some people think is unfair, now that the public toilets are not operational.

Jinja municipal council deputy Mayor George Izale says efforts to propose a motion to privatize the public toilets at Jinja municipal council were thwarted by councilors in 2012 saying the cause for opening the toilets would not be met.

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