“We collect these market wastes and give them to Mega Environment so that they use the waste for recycling purposes.” explains Acho Hope Frankline, a vendor at Olaelong Market, in Gulu District in Uganda.
Huge heaps of filthy and deserted rubbish are a common site at this market, and pause health and environmental challenges to the community, according to Ms. Acho. For example, a huge mound forming out of the garbage collected from the nearby Cerelendo, Cuk Wilobo, Kasubi stinks throughout the community, attracting criticism for city authorities.
Organic waste management is considered one of the most immediate and serious environmental problems confronting urban areas especially in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food equivalent to a third of global production is wasted annually in the world. Cities in low-income countries generate on average between 300-600 grams of waste per person every day.
Uganda, like many other developing countries, are facing rapid urbanization of 4.5% per annum which has resulted into growth of slums that are inadequate and lack necessary services and infrastructure and are usually characterized by poor solid waste management, according to The direct Science journal.
According to the article published by Inspires Project on Solid waste management in Gulu city, the increasing health risks and environmental problems associated with waste have been evident for a long time.
In 2010, the then Gulu municipality was listed among the 17 municipalities to benefit from World Bank funding to construct a solid waste decomposing plant. This plan was unfortunately not executed and waste management handling has remained a huge challenge to the Municipal authorities.
The growing public pressure and environmental concerns, resulting from the increase in the urban organic waste has led to finding alternative methods to address the environmental concerns. Among the alternative sustainable methods of dealing with waste include the black soldier fly waste management program under the Mega Environment- Youth based company sustainably managing waste in Gulu.
The initiative started out in 2020 dealing with waste management as a way of reducing waste disposal in Gulu city. Mega Environment collects approximately 500 to 600 Kilograms of waste every week to feed on their black soldier fly lava. The lavae is fed on this waste for 10-11 days and after these days,the lavae is ready for sale to livestock farmers.
The three kinds of waste that Mega deals in are brewery, organic and household waste and all these constitute a large percentage of garbage disposal in Gulu city. With the black soldier fly technology, they have contributed a great deal to the reduction of waste. According to Richard Olanyah the Chief Of Operations, Mega environment was started on two basic principles. “We wanted to solve the problem of livestock feeds but also encourage urban farming.” Explains Richard.
As the lavae feed on the waste, they generate a high protein content that serves a highly nutritious purpose for livestock and poultry. It is on this note that mega foresees sustainable urban farming practises based on the reuse of waste through the black soldier fly technology.
Like any other business initiative, mega environment has faced its share of challenges. One of the challenges is transport to carry the wastes from their dumping sites to the work station where they are supposed to be fed on by the lavae.
The other challenge is the waste collectors who are at times inefficient when it comes to gathering this waste. The community is also another challenge because some of them don’t understand why Mega environment is breeding flies which according to them are supposed to be in a toilet setting.
Even with these challenges, Mega environment is more focused than ever to improve on the organic waste disposal challenge in not only Northern Uganda but countrywide. “As mega environment, we hope to extend this black soldier fly technology across different parts of Uganda.” Says Richard.
Mega Environment’s approach to waste management is an important factor that supports in climate conservation through the black soldier fly technology. Improper waste management does not only result in litter everywhere but also has negative impact on the environment.
It’s therefore important to practice sustainable waste management for proper environment protection, and among the various new technologies that are emerging for solid waste disposal, Black soldier fly technology still provides an alternative common solution especially in Gulu City northern Uganda.
A collection of pictures from the field