Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 16 September 2008

Sanitation and environmental damage in Juba


By Jacob K. Lupai*

September 16, 2008 — In a previous article on horrible conditions of roads in Juba I made a statement that, “I strongly take issue with the horrible and depressing conditions of roads in and around Juba, the southern national capital. It is totally unacceptable for such horrible and depressing sight of roads in Juba under the very noses of the authorities concerned to be ignored”. Now I am appalled by absolute poor sewage and garbage disposal system, sanitation, and the environmental damage in and around Juba that is alarming without being checked. It is difficult to quantify the environmental damage being done but the signs are there for the keen to see. Plastic bottles, carrier bags, soft drink cans to mention but a few are simply dumped as its pleases individuals or people acting as companies. Strolling or driving in Juba one won’t fail to notice heaps of garbage littering the landscape as though they were ornamentals. Most residential areas and homes in Juba have heaps of garbage on their door steps. People seem to have given up and care less of the health hazard such heaps of garbage may pose to the public or to the neighbourhood and the environmental damage that may also be caused.

Absolute poor sanitary conditions are horrifying leave alone being very depressing to say the least. Small farrows in roads are turning into gulley with poor attention from maintenance crew if there are any. This is worse for roads in residential areas where driving conditions are a nightmare. Roads in Juba are hardly graded and levelled. If it is done by accident inspection hardly follows. In Juba sewage and garbage disposal, and sanitation leave much to be desired. However, it is important to note that Juba is the seat of both the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and Central Equatoria State (CES). With the two levels of government working as a team there shouldn’t have been a problem of sewage and garbage disposal, and sanitation many are now witnessing. The two levels of government, however, had been locked in a battle over responsibility for Juba. The GOSS had wanted the Government of CES to relocate from Juba. One the other hand the Government of CES through the CES Assembly resisted the GOSS attempts to have Juba only to be the capital of Southern Sudan but not of CES. Probably aware of the dangers of dragging Southern Sudan into mud there was a mutual agreement, if it may be called so, on Juba to be the seat of both levels of government hence the capital of Southern Sudan and also the capital of CES. The question to ask now is who is responsible for sewage disposal and sanitation in and around Juba, the GOSS or CES?

To find an answer to the above question it may be necessary to refer to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 or to the Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan. According to the Power Sharing Protocol in the CPA the GOSS shall exercise authority in respect of the people and States in the South and the States throughout Sudan shall exercise authority at the state level and render public services through the level of government close to the people. With reference to the CPA it does not need a rocket scientist to interpret and conclude who is responsible for sewage and garbage disposal, and sanitation in Juba. One’s interpretation is that it is the Government of CES through Juba County, one of the counties in CES, and Juba Town Council that should have been responsible for sewage and garbage disposal, sanitation, and the environment in Juba. However, the GOSS may likely be of any assistance to the Government of CES in tackling problems of sewage and garbage disposal, and sanitation, and environmental damage if requested to do so. We are told the GOSS is ready to support the States as much as possible. In all it is Juba County Commissioner and the Town Council that should take full responsibility for the disgraceful situation of sewage and garbage disposal, sanitation, and also the environmental damage in Juba. It may be interesting to observe how Juba Town Council makes its budget for services and physical infrastructures (inner roads) in Juba. Either Juba Town Council consists of a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats or very corrupt individuals that the budget finds its way to other irrelevant uses. It could have also been that the commissioner was indecisive or unable to provide the needed supervision for a friendly sewage and garbage disposal system, and sanitation in Juba. In a robust system people would have found themselves out of job. There is no point in keeping very incompetent people who are a disgrace to the system. All levels of government need to tighten their grip on units that do not deliver. The alternative is that people will continue to endure unnecessarily intolerable conditions of poor living standards.

Poor living conditions are rampant in Juba. On sewage and garbage disposal one does not need to look far. As a resident of Juba who does not rely on secondary information one can say with confidence that the system is miserably failing Jubans (a simplification word for residents of Juba) in their quest for environmentally friendly system of sewage and garbage disposal for a high living standard. A little after Mount KÖrÖk (Jebel Kujur) on Juba-Yei main road the place has become a dumping ground for raw sewage and garbage (plastic bottles and soft drink cans of all shapes and sizes, carrier bags etc.).It may not be possible to quantify the damage done but the environmental damage and health hazard could be colossal. It is not strange to notice people desperately shifting through the filthy garbage for anything redeemable for recycle, perhaps an indication of chronic poverty in the area. People are seen drinking from half empty plastic bottles of soft drinks redeemed from the filthy garbage probably without any worry about what that could mean to their dear health. Garbage is strewn along the road which seems to be a display of arrogance because the perpetrators may not be caught in a very corrupt system where the pronunciation of zero tolerance of corruption is mostly for the media and a public relation exercise. For the raw sewage it is not dumped far from the edge of the main road. The raw sewage may sometimes be washed down streams only to find its way to sources of drinking water. The unpleasant odour of the raw sewage along the road has become the trademark of the place.

While travelling with a CES and a GOSS minister on different occasions on Juba-Yei main road, on reaching the dumping ground of the raw sewage each minister requested that window screens of the car should be wound up to escape the unpleasant odour of the raw sewage. If government ministers in Juba could be aware of such dumping grounds for raw sewage in the vicinity of Juba that could be a health risk to the public, what on earth could those ministers be discussing in their council meetings if not to point out in any other business (AOB) such dumping of raw sewage by unscrupulous businessmen along an important would be Juba-Yei highway.

In conclusion it seems it is very clear that there was no regulating of the dumping of raw sewage and garbage in Juba or if there was regulating it was badly planned. One would consider Juba Town Council taking full responsibility for such act of gross negligence and utter incompetence in regulating sewage disposal and dumping of garbage. It was unacceptable that Juba Town Council was turning a blind eye to broad day light damage to our environment by unscrupulous businessmen who are here to milk the South of its valuable resources. Not only is the environment damaged but public health is at risk. Jubans have the right to feel like orphans whose town council has abandoned them for lucrative business where the benefits are not even shared equitably in terms of vital services to the public. Inner town roads grading and levelling/construction, sewage and garbage disposal should be higher in the priority list of services for the welfare of the public in Juba. For success there needs to be a concrete plan for sewage disposal and sanitation, and garbage dumping system for a healthier and cleaner environment. Incinerators and selected sites for garbage may offer an environmentally and friendlier alternative. However, for now the commissioner of Juba County and the town council have failed Jubans in health, environmental and physical infrastructures (roads) indicators essential for high living standards. It is a challenge to the Ministry of Health in Central Equatoria State to come up with a concrete plan for sewage and garbage disposal, and sanitation for Juba Town. People may be sick and tired of the usual words of service delivery but with nothing tangible as a demonstration of seriousness and commitment to improve living standards in Juba as metropolis.

*The author is a regular contributor to Sudan Tribune. He can be reached at jklupai@yahoo.co.uk

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  • 16 September 2008 09:01, by martin simon wani

    Thank you Jacob Lupai for your concern for the horrifying condition of sanitation and environmental hazards in Juba.I would appreciate if you could find time to interview the concern authorities about the problem of sanitation in Juba town eg. the person in charge of the three Town Ccouncils (Juba,Kator and Munuki), Juba county, State and GOSS ministries of health. I am sure you will be abel to know some facts about this chronic problem

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    • 17 September 2008 22:12, by Nile Flame

      Development should and will not happen overnight. It is a process, which may takes some decades for an absolute changes. How old is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement?? This question is directed to my blind friend Jacob, an author of this article.

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  • 16 September 2008 10:20, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    Mr Jacob receive my thanks which i would have say to one of Goss minister,this case of poor improving in Juba and South Sudan in general does not apply directly to CES minister,because a child cannot act on his/her own without an information or orders from his/her parents,this is why i say CES minister cannot do enough in health due to lack of expense such as providing empolyees to carry the task of healthy service in this Capital of Southern Sudan,which is just a word of mouth but nothing in reality as you have suggest in your article.

    However One of the major issue that we in this nation must face is that Goss is not longer in the position of Goss which we all had planed to achieve ,imagine right now you can see that the people are wasting money,sleeping on money and doing nothing with money but for some who are in concern of making better lifes are in research.And this is how the Goss and his entire clan are enjoying the joy across this nation of South Sudan,imagine Goss by himself receive billions from his share but where are the result of this money?,if we beleive that this Goss is in the name of SPLA/M not Salva People Liberation Army/M we are absolutely wrong.But i personal suggest that if this spirit of consuming money while forgetting to make development has to exist until tomorrow for sure there will be some errors within us beside our big enemy,because this single community of jungle creatures has become a big sickness to this nation,peopple just put big hearts of leadership for consuming with money not about the benefit of the nation.

    Therefore if we beleive that CES has some corrupter who migh have consum the money that would have been for development why can’t we just pack those corrupters and replace them with someone who cares about the future of South?.I really don’t like the way how we have been driven under cruel and inexperience people which are just about corrutption and selfishness.It is already clear that it seem as we fough for others to benefit but this is not how we are going to live otherwise if so than there is no need to say Goss or ghost.To conclude this i would like to say that if "Goss is thinking of taking the word capital to his bor or whatever let him pack and leave with all his piglets not to roam in Greater Equatoria" because am sick of you people none of you had ever point a gun to an enemy in Greater Equatoria during the war because you are well known for you cowardness hiding in Uganda,Kenya and Ethiopia.Imagine like now am getting alot of flies infront of my shop just because some of these jungle community are always in front of my shop even just becasue of a single sweet to buy but you can see 50 people are here doing nothing.I don’t like this system of buying thing,absolutely this will cause disease to me,but since i know that this Nation is under an individual hand i better not waste my time to report.

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    • 16 September 2008 14:28, by Thon Raan


      You might have receive this comment of mine disgraceful but here go,

      Juba is not the responsiblity of the Government of Southern Sudan at all as you people don’t know. The state government and particulary the commissioner of Central Equatoria State should have to take full control of the town or else he should have to request the government to help him find the neccesary means of helping the poor and filthy area of Juba.

      Moreover, people like BIG Illegal not big logic should have done something else since he has a lot of shops acrosss the Juba town. Juba and its people have never been sincere since the Anya-Anya one as well as Anya-Anya two. It is a pity to have Juba the capital city of Southern Sudan at this time.

      People like Joseph Lagu, Clement Wani Konga, and the Big Logic on other hand are the example of the messed and discrimination, jealousy, cowardness, poor planning. Politically, these individuals includes others were the Arabs sympathizers during the struggle and many people have lost their lives around Juba including some of my good Equatorian friends. I fought Clement’s forces in Tali, Rokon, Mangala, Lira and many places around Juba between 1993, through 1997 where we captured Tali and chased away Arabs and their supporters.

      When I was fighting you people, I swear that I will never see you again here in Southern Sudan but lastly, I realize that having a weak side is very important and it shows that you are the only man just like staying together with an illitrate wife with you at home. I personally, I don’t feel bad, or frustrated when I heard those of Big Logic putting nonsonses over the internet because I know how to treat a coward directly.

      Sincerely speaking, Juba is not worthy to be a capital city of Southern Sudan due to these truth I said here. And whether you like it or not, It is a must to use it as a pit latrine till the government approves to relocate the capital elsewhere after an Intrim Period. I don’t stay long in Juba just because of the memories and bad dreams I have in mind when thinking of the civil war.

      How can you fight your eyes, legs, and your heart?.

      + Dinka Bor is there as your legs.

      + Nuer community is there as your eyes.
      + Dinka BeG is there as your heart.

      Equatoria is just like my hairs which I remove any time and actually I don’t comb my head because of intelligent missions I always do. I can remove any intruder from Equatoria just like the way I shave my head.

      The men of this nation will never do anything for Juba untill you confess and give responsibility of Juba to GOSS.

      Thon Raan is a Southern Sudanese signal and can rarely be found. I am your Signal where you work, where you go, where you stay.

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      • 16 September 2008 19:31, by Abila Ocho

        Hi Thon,

        I am sorry to respond to your comments, but your senseless and undigested words made me to reacted. If you are a true liberator you wouldn’t comment Mr. Big Logics’ like that. Remeber a wise man always remain wise and he is always a good advisor whatever the case may be, whether you are provoked or not.

        We should stop claiming situations that can not give us credit. Moreso this will stare the reconciliatory mechanism which we want to put an icon in order to heal the wounds of those who have been affected directly and indirectly. We should have the hearts of patirotic who swear that I will die for the shake to protect my people, my land and my country. Whether you are wounded or not it’s God and the love of your land who will reward you.


        But let us refrain from silly comments they take us no where.

        Reuben Abila

        Can be reached: abilareuben@yahoo.co.uk

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      • 16 September 2008 21:07, by Gatdelha

        Brother Thon!!

        let us forget the rips of the past if we want to make a good future for country! how many of us in southern Sudan? I believe we are less than 10 million person! and how many resources we have? very many! let forgive one another!

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  • 16 September 2008 20:51, by Gatdelha

    Mr Lupai!!

    Sanitation and environmental damage is a general problem in our 1st centure souuthern Sudan!the most primitive place in the world! So,I don’t think is only Juba that is suffering from such problems! Those heady corrupt beasts of GoSS, have to do something about such problems, but how can we expect them to care when they intoxicate their heads in daily bases!! unless we stop the follow of wisky from Kenya and Uganda, we can never expect those beasts to develop our country!

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    • 17 September 2008 12:04, by biarawieu

      Hi Mr Gat

      is really fantastic i felt happy today when i read your comment i love that, you are bless, wewe nimekuwa kristo leo. because most of your comment alway look ugly and senseless, please keep on like this and you will be our leader next time. our people need to be encourage, need support, and our problem is our problems all of us not individual. Awieudit

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      • 19 September 2008 21:43, by Gatdelha

        hi biarawieu, the heady crook!!

        I suppose I offened you by mentioning the stop of the wisky import to Southern Sudan, please pardon me, as I was not aware that heady people like you will always regard that as an offend, don’t worry, I have changed my mind, we are going to flood Southern Sudan with alcohol next few days, just to get rid of heady peole like you so that we can develop our country free heady beasts like you!

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  • 16 September 2008 23:36, by newpolitiks

    Thanks for highlighting an important issue.

    GOSS needs to outline a new environment conservation strategy, as you can seenow the world is now trying to move towards being GREEN,this inturn will help maintain the countries environment in long run and also keep the environment clean and healthy for its people ro live in, this will further help in curbing diseases like cholera, meningitis and other deadly bacterial infections, GOSS needs to understand that playing reckless with environment will come back to haunt the country sooner or later, it is not about GOSS or Central Equatoria government, it is about taking responsibility and exerting leadership quality to put the country in a better place.
    I solely blame Government of Central Equatoria (CES) for this problem of Rubbish allover the town including in front of the houses of top government officials. CES government is the authority responsible for running the Central Equaotira state and the Juba Local Authority falls directly under their responsibility and not under the GOSS responsibility.
    GOSS is responsible for setting out strategies and planning for the affairs of the whole South Sudan but they are not responsible for cleaning Juba, Cleaning Juba falls under the Local Authority or Juba Local Council. Also About GOSS and CES fighting over who should control Juba i think this is a very childish political game which is uncalled for. No Federal or Central Government
    ever controls the day to day running of a city or town or county, its the job of the Local Authority, the Federal body can only give support through the state Ministries or Department under which that specific work falls, for example if the GOSS wants to support lets say Juba Hospital,the GOSS ministry of Health will support Central Equatoria Ministry of Health which inturn will then support the Juba Hospital as it falls under the Health department and so on the chain of responsibility goes on.
    GOSS has a responsibility in Juba Rubbish issue because as a central government who is responsible for all South they should have not been quit while they drive, walk, eat and sleep in the same place which is full of Rubbish and dirty, this would render the GOSS as irresponible and lacking executive abilities or proper qualifications.GOSS should have shouted at CES to use their budget and official duty and responsibility to carry out the work and keep Juba town clean, since Juba gives the absolute image of South Sudan and its people to the whole world, in Sudan and to the outside world. When visitors, business people or dignitaries from other countries visit South Sudan they will look at Juba, and that will give them also some idea of about the country and its people, it will show what South Sudan is and what its people are just from looking around the places that they visit,Like if you visit Japan or China, all the things you see around you will show you about the greatness and ability of this people to do things for themselves and run their countries,but if you see a run down,messy, dirty place and people, you will have a different idea and may be even change your mind what you wanted to do there, this leads as to investors too who want to invest in South Sudan, they can be put off easily by such things. So if they see Rubbish and pot hole roads and run down buildings , dirty places and dirty people and low services, it gives a negative image not only for Juba but for whole South and this inturn gives shameful image to the heads of the government who unfortunately live in the same city.
    So Let CEC take responsibility of cleaning Juba town while GOSS should give pressure on them to do something to show they can really control and run Juba affaurs as they claim.For example if you take example of a first world country like America, the capital Washington city affairs is not run by the White House or George Bush, it is run by the Washington city Local Authorities, the White house runs the whole country affairs but they own Federal government assets in Washinton as the Capital while the Local Authorities run the affairs of washington including cleaning the city.So GOSS and CES should not fight over who controls Juba cos it is all clear and plain what every ones responsibility is and should be.Southerners have to learn from this things and stop being arrogant people if they really want to develope faster and not slower.

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