In Summary

The issue:
Failed urban planning system.

Our view:
By standing up against this factory, the people of Bulindo are demonstrating that Ugandans desire to live in a better environment and are tired of everybody doing what they wish without regard to how others are affected.

The residents of Bulindo Cell, Kira Ward in Kira Municipality have rejected plans to set up a plastics factory in their purely residential area for fear that they will suffer pollution and related environmental damage. They have petitioned the municipal authorities and the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to stop the development.
Bulindo residents should be commended for raising their voice and the concerned authorities must rise to the occasion and address their concerns. It should be noted that the matter they are bringing up is at the core of our failed urban planning system that has encouraged slums and disorganised urban centres because of mixed land use.

Thus we have a situation in the country today where factories, churches, mosques and fuel stations have been constructed in the middle of residential areas. The resultant chaos is noisy and chemically polluted neighbourhoods in which none of the parties are happy to live or work in. The proposed Bulindo factory building had initially been presented as a warehouse – which is also odd for a residential area – only for residents to see production machines being installed.

We need to return to the basics of urban planning as the colonialists did and as proper government agencies do so that common land use activities are zoned and clustered together. Thus factories should be in an industrial area, shops and supermarkets should be in a commercial area, residential houses should be in a residential area, etc.

When this is done and rigorously adhered to, then we will begin to enjoy the environment we live in. It also helps make utility infrastructure development easier and cheaper. Thus it will not be necessary to build a four-phase power line to feed only one factory in a residential area which can do with a smaller power output. The same applies to roads whereby there will be no heavy trucks driving over small roads in residential areas to deliver or pick heavy tonnage goods.

The tragedy about Uganda is that it is not because we do not know what should be done; it is that we have accepted to live in this mess and do not believe that it can be different. By standing up against this factory, the people of Bulindo are demonstrating that Ugandans desire to live in a better environment and are tired of everybody doing what they wish without regard to how others are affected.