Vegetable consumers in and around Mbale municipality are at a risk of intestinal infections because of eating contaminated vegetables.
Vegetable consumers in and around Mbale municipality are at a risk of intestinal infections because of eating contaminated vegetables. The vegetables such as cabbages, carrots, onions and tomatoes sold in Mbale town are produced in Namatala and Malukhu suburbs. Farmers use polluted water from streams and sewage lagoons to water their vegetable gardens. But scientific studies show that consuming vegetables irrigated with sewage effluents carries health risks.
A 2009 study by Jos University in Nigeria, published in the Annals of African Medicine, found that people consuming vegetables irrigated with raw waste water are at the risk of being infected with askaris, amoeba and tapeworms. In Namatala about 3 Kms west of Mbale town, vegetable farmers consider the sewage lagoon there a blessing.
All the four lagoons in Namatala are surrounded by gardens of sprouting yams, tomatoes, carrots, cabbages and egg plants amongst other crops such as sugar cane, rice and maize. Moses Wakube, one of the vegetable farmers says that he uses water from the lagoons to water his three acres vegetable garden.
Wakube says that he is happy because the water makes his vegetable grow well and fast. He says that he has been consuming and selling the vegetables to other vendors for years and earning enough to take care of his children.
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Wakube is not aware of any health risk associated with eating vegetable planted using polluted water, adding that he has not received any complaints from his customers. William Ssezi Mulokole, another vegetable farmer was busy planting maize next to his yam vegetable garden when URN visited the sewage lagoon today.
Like others, Ssezi says he has never had any health problem with consuming the vegetables that he produces using the raw waste water from the lagoon.
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Janet Kainza, a vegetable farmer and also a vendor at Namatala market says she does not believe the research findings. She says she has been consuming and vending vegetables from her gardens located next to the lagoons for the last 10 years and nothing has happened to her.
Kainza says that is not the only vendor selling vegetables irrigated with the sewage infested water. She says a big amount of the vegetables being sold in town and most of the suburbs are fertilized by sewage flowing into the rivers.
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Mrs Sarah Ssentongo, who was found buying cabbages at Mbale’s Pallisa road market to prepare her family’s lunch meal, says it is difficult to believe the results. She says they have been consuming the vegetables for years and was not aware of any health problem. She appeals for mass education of the populace on the inherent dangers in eating these vegetables.
ignorance killing innocent residents
parastic infection on vegetables
sewage infested water for farming in mbale
mbale sewage lagoon for irrigation