Air quality in Kampala

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Kampala

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What is the current weather in Kampala?

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WeatherBroken clouds
Wind1 mp/h
Pressure30 Hg

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Real-time Kampala air quality ranking

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3 Pool Road


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6 International School Of Uganda


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What is the current air quality in Kampala?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Unhealthy 166 US AQItrendPM2.5



PM2.5 concentration in Kampala is currently 15.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

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What is the current air quality in Kampala?

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Kampala air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Monday, Jul 22

Moderate 94 AQI US

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71.6° 64.4°
Wind rotating 19 degree 4.5 mp/h
Tuesday, Jul 23

Moderate 95 AQI US

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82.4° 64.4°
Wind rotating 176 degree 6.7 mp/h
Wednesday, Jul 24

Unhealthy for sensitive groups 136 AQI US

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80.6° 60.8°
Wind rotating 179 degree 6.7 mp/h

Unhealthy 166 AQI US

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82.4° 62.6°
Wind rotating 175 degree 6.7 mp/h
Friday, Jul 26

Moderate 65 AQI US

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84.2° 60.8°
Wind rotating 173 degree 6.7 mp/h
Saturday, Jul 27

Moderate 69 AQI US

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Weather icon
84.2° 60.8°
Wind rotating 172 degree 6.7 mp/h
Sunday, Jul 28

Moderate 68 AQI US

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Weather icon
84.2° 60.8°
Wind rotating 164 degree 6.7 mp/h
Monday, Jul 29

Moderate 65 AQI US

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Weather icon
84.2° 60.8°
Wind rotating 352 degree 4.5 mp/h
Tuesday, Jul 30

Moderate 64 AQI US

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Weather icon 30%
84.2° 60.8°
Wind rotating 355 degree 4.5 mp/h
Wednesday, Jul 31

Moderate 67 AQI US

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Weather icon 50%
84.2° 62.6°
Wind rotating 153 degree 6.7 mp/h

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Is Kampala a city with polluted air?

Kampala is a city located in Uganda, holding the title of both capital and largest city in the country, with some 6.7 million inhabitants. Kampala is regarded to be one of the fastest growing cities in the African continent, with a high yearly population growth rate. Alongside this, it has made a widescale move towards heavy urbanization, industrialization and other economic developments in the last few decades and more prominently so in recent times, classed as one of the best emerging cities in East Africa to live in.

Looking at the pollution levels currently on record, as one would expect from a city that is undergoing such rapid growth across all areas, there are less than appreciable readings of pollution present. In 2019, Kampala was shown to have a yearly PM2.5 average of 29.1 μg/m³, a reading that would place it in the higher end of the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket. This requires a PM2.5 reading anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such, and denotes that Kampala has some prominent air pollution issues occurring, with certain months seeing considerable spikes in pollution readings, with reasons that will be discussed in short. This PM2.5 reading of 29.1 μg/m³ placed Kampala in 465th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, a high ranking that will need to be brought down as the city makes its way into a well developed future, for the wellbeing of its inhabitants as well as the ecosystems and land.

What are some of the main causes of pollution in Kampala?

As with many cities undergoing such rapid growth, alongside associated geographical and meteorological conditions, Kampala is subject to a wide variety of different pollution sources, some of them having been present for a considerable amount of time as well as many novel sources. One of the more prominent causes would be industrial pollution, with many factories, power plants and industrial zones giving out massive amounts of pollution, alongside a plethora of new ones popping up around the city to assist in providing power to its growing population.

These factories and related areas often rely heavily on coal for their power, the burning of which can release large amounts of chemical pollution and fine matter. Other similar sources are vehicular emissions, with many outdated and aged vehicles being utilized on the roads due to a lack of stringent road and motor regulations. Another source is that of garbage burning, or open waste disposal, which can introduce a dangerous amount of pollutants into the air via the combustion of both organic material as well as synthetic ones. The use of firewood and charcoal for cooking in households is also a major contributor, with all of these aforementioned factors coming together to create the highly elevated pollution levels seen in Kampala throughout the year.

When is the pollution at its worst in Kampala?

Observing the data taken over the course of 2019 as an indicator of Kampala’s worsening pollution levels, it becomes apparent that there are several months out of the year that have higher PM2.5 readings than the rest of the year does. Whilst these are not as clear cut as many other countries around the world (with many cities having a distinct high and low pollution season), the months that stood out as the most polluted were February, July and August, all of which came in with PM2.5 readings of 36.9 μg/m³, 39.9 μg/m³ and 37.4 μg/m³ respectively.

This shows that Kampala does not have a particular pattern to its air quality levels, and thus may be at the mercy of sporadic changes and fluctuations in its PM2.5 count. With those numbers in mind, Kampala’s most polluted reading was 39.9 μg/m³, a number which placed it into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket over the month of July, a group ranking that requires a reading of 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.

What are some of the pollutants found in the air in Kampala?

Some of the main types of pollution found in Kampala would be ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), both of which find their origin from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels as well as organic matter, and as such can find their origin in car engines, factories as well as open burn sites and homes. Black carbon is a major component in soot and is a potent carcinogen when inhaled, often found coating areas that see a high volume of traffic such as busy intersections.

Some examples of the previously mentioned VOC's are chemicals such as benzene, toluene, xylene and methylene chloride, all of which are hazardous to human health and can arise from many different sources, adding to their prevalence in the air. Fine particulate matter such as road dust and finely ground silica or concrete can also have devastating effects when not kept in check, with many poorly maintained or unpaved roads as well as construction sites all leaking vast amounts of these fine particles. Cars can release large amounts of chemical compounds such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Is the air quality in Kampala improving?

With data available from the last few years, these readings can be compared to the more recent numbers taken. In 2017, Kampala came in with a PM2.5 average of 54.3 μg/m³, a massive reading that would have put it into the top most polluted cities of the world at that period in time. This was followed in 2018 by a reading of 40.8 μg/m³, a considerably improved reading but still very much high and presenting a hazard to its citizens. In the most recent reading available, as was mentioned 2019 came in with its PM2.5 reading of 29.1 μg/m³. This represents a significant improvement, and whilst it still has a way to go in order to make its pollution levels safer for its inhabitants, there has been a considerable improvement made over the course of the last few years. If this is to be kept up, then Kampala can improve its worldwide rankings even further and move itself to a more appreciable level of air quality.

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