Busia town is choking in garbage as collectors keep off

Matayos residents in Busia County collect garbage during a market cleaning exercise. [Courtesy]

Spillover and overflowing garbage bins have become a common sight in Busia town and at Bumala after a contractor tasked with collecting and disposing of the garbage abandoned the work. 

This saw local traders operating in the two towns raised concerns over health risks. 

“For the last three weeks, we have not seen any solid waste collection in our town, the waste is all over and the smell is awful,” Daniel Suta, a trader at Posta Market in Busia town said.

He added: “This is a fish selling area but no one is coming to collect the garbage, with the ongoing heavy rains a cholera outbreak is imminent. People are even setting up illegal compost pits. I don’t know why the county is not concerned.”

The firm abandoned the work demanding payment of pending arrears owed by the county for the last 12 twelve months.

However, the county administration claims that the former county regime erroneously entered the payment the company is demanding.

Busia County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Peter Odima acknowledged a challenge with the town’s hygiene but blamed the former regime for it.

“We recently sent one of the trucks to collect garbage in Bumala and the person who used to collect the waste prevented our people from collecting the garbage stating that we have not paid his dues, that he worked for 12 months and most worrying thing is that residents sided with him,” he said. 

The CECM revealed that the said contractor lacked documents to support his claims.

“There was a contract signed in 2020/2021 but it lacked the Local Service Order (LSO) for the tender document, the garbage contractors signed a 12 months’ agreement but the person who signed the contract signed for 24 months, the amount on the LSO is for 12 months which the county has already paid and yet they are now demanding the payment of 12 months for a tender document without LSO,” said Odima.

He blamed the contractor for signing an agreement without proofreading what they were signing.

“We are urging our traders to collect the waste at various dumpsites then the collection of the garbage from the dumpsite will be done by the county,” said Odima.