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Truckers waste disposal habits worry Acholi leaders

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Acholi regional coronavirus task force is bothered by the uncontrolled disposal of waste by truck drivers along major highways saying it could spread the coronavirus disease to communities.

The task force members say much as efforts are being made to restrict the movement and interaction of truckers and the public, uncontrolled disposal of waste such as juice and water bottles by the truckers remains a huge challenge and could be a possible source of transmission.

Michael Lakony, the Amuru district chairperson says community members along Gulu-Nimule and Karuma-Pakwach highway still stand a risk of infection as some of them pick up the used materials dropped by the truckers. Research indicates that one can also catch the COVID-19 virus through touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on it.

The virus can last up to five days on metallic surfaces like doorknobs, jewellery, silverware, up to four days on wooden furniture, up to nine days on plastics which include among others, containers and bottles, bus seats, backpacks and elevator buttons and 2-3 days on stainless steel surfaces. It lasts 24 hours on shipping boxes.

According to Lakony, some community members especially children collect bottles dropped by the truck drivers to play with while adults use them for buying fuel or stocking liquids. He asked the national task force to sensitise people along the highways on the dangers of picking items disposed of by the truck drivers.

Susan Akany, the Omoro Resident District Commissioner acknowledges that uncontrolled waste disposal could lead to a surge in the coronavirus disease infections since several truck drivers have tested positive in recent weeks. Many of these are long-haul truck drivers entering the country through Malaba, Mutukula and Elegu border points and cross through Omoro, Gulu and Amuru districts to connect to Juba in South Sudan and to the DR Congo.

Brigadier General Bonny Bamwiseki, the chairperson of Acholi Regional Coronavirus Taskforce observes an urgent need to sensitize the public on the dangers of picking waste dropped by the truckers.

More than 70 truck drivers have tested positive to the virus within Uganda, pushing the country’s COVID-19 caseload to 160 people by this morning.

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