The Juba White Nile River & the Land’s Garbage Tragedy

By: Gabriel Makuei Tor, JUBA, JAN/03/2015, SSN;

The natural resources in South Sudan (S.S.) have been defiled, so stop singing the “virgin land” song, like “a baby nation” clause in the mouths of S.S. corrupted officials. In our times when we were kids, way before 2nd civil war kicked in between South and North Sudan, over 30 years ago, there were rare cases of sickness and natural death.

Though we were drinking right direct from the rivers and rain waters, we still remained healthy than a kid living on the same today, but those days were true in their own style than these days!

So what happened? What has changed? To answer these questions, you may have your own answers but let’s read through here below:

You heard of the climate change; the religion of the 21st century. That everything we use has an effect and limitation, even the sun and the waters of the Seas. The air, soil and water are being polluted by human activities globally and here is looking through S.S. windows.

The picture here below, shows trash being incinerated (burnt) in the stream that leads into the Nile River and not far away from the main river. The stream’s greeny far left has water that is use for irrigating crops planted by the River bank.

The land of South Sudan is not virgin and the loss is being continued. Some of the land destructions are natural, whereas most of the impacts are man-made. Burning fires and waste dumping are playing a part.

If the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans could be polluted by a coal power plant running in India, China, or elsewhere, then you know, River Nile is nothing to escape the change. No land is immune of hazardous emissions (the deposit of dangerous waste and exhaust gas).

Some recent past research by the scientists had shown that people in the US State of Alaska have been contaminated by eating fish caught in the Pacific Ocean with mercury contaminants in its body. Some heavy metal like mercury are found to might have migrated to the US from Indian’s coal power plant operated in India; through smoke that is containing mercury.

The smoke mixed in and formed a cloud and the cloud came down in the form of rains, falling into the Ocean, where fish live as home and feed in. The fish is contaminated and when eaten by a person, then the person gets the mercury toxic contaminants known for destroying human nervous system, causing major illness or permanent disability in humans.

When pregnant woman eats the fish with a level of toxicity in it, the fetus may be harmed, which could lead to death before and after birth or a child born with deformities (life disabilities).

The mercury for example, is found in plastic bags and water bottles. The picture here is of the River Nile tributary, not far from Juba airport and passers have used it as a dumping ground. See water bottles …

White Nile tributary (Right) by the Juba airport (left) is seen used as water bottles’ dumpster. These pictures were taken in summer (Feb. 2014) when the tributary was dry, when it rains, it washed all these trash into the Nile – where they remain as sediments. The black, blue, red and green colors you see on the left side are from planes’ tails at Juba Airport.

Juba Trash in Tragedy
You heard of people disappearing in cities like Juba. There are those being taken by crocodile, hippopotamus or other unnamed dangerous aquatic life. These are accidents, but there are people who disappeared without trace of being attacked by the wild lives in the Nile River or elsewhere.

Other disappearances are blamed on the killers, who kill people and throw them into the river. There is nothing good in human eating human. Those who drink and bathe from the White Nile River may be eating other humans in the form of water usage, because of those dead bodies being thrown into the Nile.

When the body degraded into waters of the White Nile; the water is contaminated, making it unclean for human purposes, including domestic animals, since they do not feed on human flesh.

That is pollution. And this is one of the reasons why people are getting sick more frequently than in the past.

Mid-Night Dumping (Illegal Dumping).
Passing in downtown Juba, you will see piles of trash as high as 5 to 6 feet high by and above some complex fences in Juba town. The trash is not getting dumped to where it is supposed to go. The stagnant garbage piled up close to some offices, homes and traffic routes, will carry its pollutants around in town and people will catch it and get sick later.

Some midnights dumped garbage is found on the Juba–Nimule Highway, on the road side, right before you cross the bridge and this is in Kony-Konya area of Juba. Besides, the trash could be seen dumped at less than 200 feet from Juba–Nimule Highway in the Nasitu area by the road side.

I had seen some solid waste sitting by the river bank, next to the crops planted by the Nile River bank in Juba. Some garbage, by the streams that run into the Nile River when the rains fall, during the wet season.

The trash on the road side which many travelers had seen on numerous occasions, would get flown onto the neighboring homes and public areas, when the wind blow, while the trash by Nile bank goes into the river, where fish could be contaminated with hazardous waste (e.g. medical waste) deposited into the River.

When the contaminated fish is consumed by humans, people get sick and start seeking medical care. You might have seen people doing the same that are done in Juba being carried out all over the country South Sudan.

People are washing cars into the Nile as well as washing their bodies and clothes during the bath with soaps. This activity must be considered illegal and dangerous to do so.

The use of soap and other related agents into the Nile River is unhealthy because of the nature of toxicity in them. So why wash dirt and chemicals into the pure water of the Nile to contaminate it?

There are ways for people to designate areas for washing and bathing. Cars have aerosols – some hazardous chemicals from car’s parts and fuel apparatus are considered contaminants. Garbage should be dumped at a faraway landfill from homes, low laying grounds and away from waterways.

Water Bottles and Cans
Water bottles, plastic bags and soda cans are being thrown anywhere, anyhow in Juba and other towns. Water bottles and soda cans look like cattle egrets behind fences and in open spaces in Juba town. This is not a good start for modernization or industrialization.

And you do not tell me “baby nation is still waiting to crawl. “A day is more than a month” according to South Sudanese saying and the country existed as Free State for more than 10 years!!

Can we control our waste to protect our environment? Konyo-konyo’s town ground is covered with water bottles and soda cans deposited over the past years. Could this be cleaned?

The danger of mismanaging bottles and cans is that they don’t biodegrade, per an organization known as “Water Project”. According this same report, water bottles and soda cans do not break down and if they do decay, it took 1000 years for bottles and cans to break down and mix with soil.

Long time indeed, no one would want to wait that long, but the right waste disposal and management would do.

What are the ministry of environmental services, health and other educated South Sudanese residing in Juba, Nimule, Wau, Malakal, Bor, and other localities, doing to protect their natural resources, their environment (the water, land and people) from being polluted from imported goods??

All kinds of batteries from Automobile and electronics equipments carry toxic chemicals like mercury and cadmium among other toxicity ingredients.

Forest Combustion during the Dry Season
Burning the forest or few bushes is welcome by many cultures as forest “renewal and change” – with fire considered as “nature’s housekeeper” but this practice could be disastrous.

The fire can clear the forest for passage; get rid of old parts and plants, but it takes away the most fertile part of the land – the top soil is burnt to ashes: Fires killed humus and other nutritional top soil ingredients.

When the top soil that is rich with dead plants and animals is gone; the land is not productive for agriculture, grass growth for cattle grazing and this could make the burned land or forest incapable of replenishing itself.

Fires destroy wild animal’s homes and lives – no country with responsible leaders and scholars would want to see their wildlife gone forever. This could lead to wildlife extirpation, or extinction.

No one would be willing to see the wild animals in his/her home areas getting all killed or displaced to neighboring countries, where they will never return when they find peace there.

Most of the South Sudanese burn their regions’ forests and grassland down, during the spring and summer seasons. The smoke from fires carries exhausted gases, hindering oxygen flow to all kinds of people and blocking sun light from hitting the earth.

In this case, people with asthma and children have their breathing airways made so hard for them to breathe well, due to forests fires’ smoke, and fine particles floating in the air.

The way to prevent this harmful practice is to make forest combustion illegal, unless it is absolutely necessary to burn the forest. South Sudan forest management must act now in regard nature integrity and protection.

The few details expressed here are not the only impacts to South Sudan environment, but a few of enormous environmental issues of concern. Healthy environment means healthy people. This picture shows how the Nile is utilized as well as abusing it.

Please, Keep Nile River Safe and Clean. If the Nile waters are polluted, the fish, land and the crops would too be polluted, among other natural resources, since it is the same Nile waters that serve the land and its production, either by the rain, irrigation, or flood.

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  1. False Millionaire says:

    Mr Gabriel:

    You deserve to be wished a very happy new year with your family n friends.In fact how so brilliant are you to surprise us with your great n most important article?healthy n clean environment is the human’s life line.It’s more important than power n money.We may ignore to want to understand but we are among most lucky citizens in Africa with our God’s given good environment.It’s our mismanagement of it that will put us in danger n very quickly as you have out lined the gravity of the degradation in Juba.

    History of urban foundation,construction n management is universally linked to the environment n preservation of public good health.Observe the old urban structures like in Wau:every house was built with a toilet under which there was a bucket in which to contain human waste.In our time such buckets were emptied into specially built human waste tank trucks by trained urban services of healt n hygiene employees.They drove the trucks out side the town.It was latter on in life when we grew up that we understood they dumped the waste in sealed tranches.Even urinating out side public toilets when one was not home was prohibited.This too we understood later that it was another way of preventing human waste from washing into city water evacuation tranches which channeled rains’ water into the river.That as there is no zero contamination by nature,it was the reason for water purification plants n the water pipes that distributed clean water to homes,schools,hospitals n every where in the town.Other waste materials like food crumbs,metal objects,papers,plastics,worn clothes,useless shoes,woods n cut grass were gathered in designated garbage places n were collected later by the town services of health n hygiene trucks which transported them out side the town.Even us in our young age had participated in cleaning our school n home environments.

    All that was english’s urban concept of a town with good environmental n health preservation policies.If it seems rudimentary in comparison to the modern urban,environmental n health preservation management techniques of today,it’s still the best basic possible for a country on ground zero like ours.But do our political elite have a clue about the importance of this subject?Only God knows.One thing is clear,RSS will never be a viable state if elements like this subject are not given prior attention.

  2. JJ jebel says:


    Thanks for this elegant news update. To ensure all Dinka including dictator Kiir that, the God of tiny Madi land is watching his madi people from this hot situation of suffering. Madi people are well educated, God and peace loving people but president Kiir with his Dinka people have behind motives to wipe Madi people from their ancestoral lands so that they as Dinka can occupy Nimule. All in all, the guns those were brought to Nimule and distributed to each Dinka people who are capable to carry or handle, including their women to hold guns to massacre or kill madi people but God of madi land is watching. Madi people have Naver done wrong to dictator Kiir and his Dinka people. Those guns brought to wipe madi people the bullets will turn themselves against Kiir Dinka people.

  3. johnjerry says:

    Garbage collection and disposal is the work of Juba City Council.Who is responsible for the up cleaning of the City?. It is the City with its head as the Mayor to handle that. The Juba City Councillors should know how to handle the situations in a City that is fast growing in terms of populations. There are ways out there all that is needed is a clear vision and good management. We can do it if we have the will to make change. This is not Rocket Science!!

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