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Doctoral thesis, 2014

Urban waste management and the environmental impact of organic waste treatment systems in Kampala, Uganda

Komakech, Allan


In Kampala, Uganda, about 28,000 tonnes of waste are collected and delivered to landfill every month. Kampala Capital City Authority records show that this represents approximately 40 % of the waste generated in the city. The remaining uncollected waste is normally burnt and/or dumped in unauthorised sites, causing health and environmental problems. However, the organic fraction of domestic waste can provide an opportunity to improve livelihoods and incomes through fertiliser and energy production. This study employed environmental systems analysis to identify the most environmentally efficient technologies for treating the organic waste generated. The work was undertaken through interrelated studies. These were a literature review of waste hierarchy practices suitable to the development of a sub-Saharan African city using Kampala as a case study; a physical and chemical characterisation of municipal waste collected and delivered to Kampala’s landfill over the span of a year to cover both dry and wet seasons; a mapping of the location of animal farms and the establishment of animal feeding and waste management practices on animal farms in Kampala; treatment of Kampala's organic waste by means of the vermicompost method and finally using life cycle analysis to identify the best waste treatment method for organic waste generated out of anaerobic digestion, compost, vermicompost and fly larvae waste treatment technologies. The impact categories assessed were energy use, global warming and eutrophication potentials. Generally, the results showed that re-use and waste prevention waste hierarchy methods are the most feasible for the development of waste management in Kampala: over 92 % of the waste generated is organic in nature, containing on average a moisture content of 71.1 %, 1.65 % nitrogen, 0.28 % phosphorus, 2.38 % potassium and a gross energy content of 17 MJ/kg; most animal farms are located on the periphery of the city, and the most popular animal feeds are peelings and pasture; 60 % of the animal manure generated is discarded and 32 % used as fertiliser; a 60.3% material degradation was achieved in the vermicompost process while the feed-to-biomass conversion rate was 3.6 % on a dry matter basis; and finally anaerobic digestion performs best in terms of energy use, global warming potential and eutrophication potential. However the study concluded that poorly managed anaerobic digestion technology with extensive methane leakages will make a considerable contribution to global warming. Further research is needed to establish the viability of fly larvae waste composting in sub-Saharan Africa and to measure direct emissions from the different organic waste treatment technologies in a sub-Sahara African city setting.


Kampala; Life cycle assessment; Organic waste; sub-Saharan Africa; waste characterisation; waste treatment

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2014, number: 2014:77
ISBN: 978-91-576-8102-7
Publisher: Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Komakech, Allan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Komakech, Allan
Makerere University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Environmental Management

URI (permanent link to this page)