Characterization of municipal waste in Kampala, Uganda
Komakech, Allan J.
Banadda, Noble E.
Kinobe, Joel R.
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In Kampala, Uganda, about 28,000 tons of waste is collected and delivered to a landfill every month. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) records show that this represents approximately 40% of the waste generated in the city. The remaining uncollected waste is normally dumped in unauthorized sites, causing health and environmental problems. However, the organic fraction of domestic waste can provide an opportunity to improve livelihoods and incomes through fertilizer and energy production. This study characterized the municipal waste generated in Kampala and delivered to Kiteezi landfill between July 2011 and June 2012, that is, covering the dry and wet months. On each sampling day, waste was randomly selected from five trucks, sorted and weighed into different physical fractions. Samples of the organic waste from each truck were analyzed for total solids, major nutrients, and energy content. During the wet months, the waste consisted of 88.5% organics, 3.8% soft plastics, 2.8% hard plastics, 2.2% paper, 0.9% glass, 0.7% textiles and leather, 0.2% metals, and 1.0% others. During the dry months, the waste consisted of 94.8% organics, 2.4% soft plastics, 1.0% hard plastics, 0.7% papers, 0.3% glass, 0.3% textile and leather, 0.1% metals, and 0.3% others. The organic waste on average had a moisture content of 71.1% and contained 1.89% nitrogen, 0.27% phosphorus, and 1.95% potassium. The waste had an average gross energy content of 17.3 MJ/kg. It was concluded that the organic waste generated can be a suitable source of some plant nutrients that are useful especially in urban agriculture. Implications: The result of the waste characterization in Kampala was found to be significantly different from that obtained for other Sub-Saharan African (SSA) cities, showing that studies assuming average values for the waste fractions are likely to result in erroneous results. Furthermore, no reduction in organic fraction of the waste was noticed when compared with a study done two decades ago in spite of greatly improved economic status of Kampala city, a finding that is not in agreement with several other similar studies done for other SSA cities.