Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Horrible unless it's rainy season or you get out of the city. Today it was 195. The average this week has been over 150. I've been collecting screenshots over the last year and the AQI is rarely under 120. Do not believe the averages listed by State Dept. There are air purifiers provided by the embassy for each bedroom but it is not enough. I would not come here if you have asthma or breathing issues. Mine have gotten worse. It wasn't like this at first when Covid still had everything half shut down. It has gotten progressively worse throughout our tour. Going out to dinner when the AQI is bad takes three days to recover. - Jan 2024

The air is bad, but not nearly as bad as we had been led to believe. We run our embassy provided air purifiers 24/7 and clean the filters monthly and change them via GSO every 3 months. - Jun 2022

Horrible air quality, especially in the city. People and pets could develop allergies or respiratory problems from pollution. - Dec 2021

Horrible air quality. I read that on one day recently, Kampala had the worst AQI in the world. Typically Kampala has the worst AQI in Africa and rivals Indian and Chinese cities frequently. I think it has health effects on some, but I have not experienced any. - Aug 2020

Terrible to me. It's been described to me like second-hand smoking all day long. All residences are given air purifiers. - Nov 2019

You'd think being next to a lake would help, but I found air quality to be fairly poor. Lots of trash/cookstoves burning. Lots of cars stuck in traffic. I didn't suffer from allergies there though. I struggled with a noisy neighbor (outdoor church service with screaming and blown out speakers). Noise had a surprising effect on my resiliency. - Oct 2019

Horrible. And it isn't seasonal, it is year-round. Especially sad considering how beautiful the weather is here. We still hang out outside mostly at our house, but I think other areas of the city might not like doing that due to the air quality. - Mar 2019

Awful. Seriously, seriously bad. This is a serious and ongoing health concern. It absolutely has an impact on health and many adults who come to post leave with air quality induced asthma. Many children at post have to use nebulizers on a frequent basis in order to help increase lung function to avoid chronic bronchitis and/or pneumonia. There was zero information about this before I came, as nobody had done the monitoring or evaluation. Since that time, there has been a great effort by the Embassy to monitor and evaluate the levels of air pollution experienced in Kampala. The levels are, to put it mildly, simply unacceptable. Although efforts have been undertaken to mitigate exposure, very few facilities here are equipped to provide clean air quality, as the basic architecture of the place is centered around access to "fresh air" at all times. Windows do not shut or seal, and even when they do there are often screens above the windows to facilitate air passing into structures. Outside of the embassy, practically no building is air tight. Schools are all open air with no climate control, which can help mitigate against air-born pollutants. - Feb 2019

Air quality is bad, and it does impact health. Depending on what neighborhood one lives in, the air pollution can be of high concern. Respiratory ailments, asthma, allergies, etc are very common and affect negatively a good number of folks here. In the mornings one can smell burning garbage, and by afternoon on a dry week the air is smoggy. It's quite a downer, as the weather is so perfect all the time. - Jan 2019

Very bad. One can see the haze in the near distance and vehicles emit profuse amounts of exhaust to the point you cannot drive with windows down. There are 195 capital cities in the world. Kampala was ranked as the 28th worst city for air pollution in 2016 (https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/the-most-polluted-cities-in-the-world-ranked/4/). - Dec 2018

Pretty bad air quality. - Dec 2018

Air quality is not great, all houses are given several air purifiers. We run all of ours whenever someone is home. There are issues with burning trash but luckily we haven't had that experience in our neighborhood. - Oct 2018

BAD! Air quality absolutely has an impact on health and makes it hard to enjoy being outside within the city and hard to exercise. Not sure if the quality is seasonal but a lot of people have allergies here. - Sep 2018

Bad bad bad! People routinely burn garbage, and it physically hurts to breath. - Sep 2018

Bad air once a week, but worse down in the lower parts of the city. Pollution can easily exacerbate asthma or allergies. Air quality outside the city is very clean. - Aug 2018

Moderate to sometimes bad, but that very much depends on the day/time of the year. It is partially because Kampala is very hilly so that bad air/exhaust from traffic sort of 'hangs' in the valleys in between the hills. - Jun 2018

It seems bad to me. Some neighborhoods are worse than others. We are also at 4,000 feet so some have trouble with the elevation when they first arrive at post. - Jun 2018

Not too bad compared to other developing countries. - Aug 2015

It's decent during the wetter seasons but during the dry season, air quality is terrible. - Jun 2014

Good for the most part. You will get the occasional burning of trash/yard waste in certain neighborhoods. - Oct 2013

Air quality is not very good. Lots of old diesel vehicles, burning trash, and dirt in the air make it tough. Most of the neighborhoods are built on hills, and the higher up you are, the better your air quality. Unless your neighbor burns trash. - Mar 2013

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