12 CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN UGANDA

12 CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN UGANDA

Environmental degradation in Uganda has been a result of both human and physical factors explained below.




  • Over grazing due to overstocking by pastoral tribes like Karamajong in Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Hima of Kiruhura, Sembabule, Mbarara, etc. This has led to devegetation exposing land to soil erosion and loss of fertility thus land degradation.
  • High population pressure in areas of Kisoro, Kabale, Mbale which has led to land fragemantation thus over cultivation of land leading to reduced soil productivity causing land degradation.
  • Extensive swamp reclamation like in Nabajjuzi wetland in masaka for settlement, Mpologoma and lumbuye wetlands for cultivation, this has led to loss of birds and animal habitats, drying up of streams, reduced land productivity and arid conditions.
  • Monoculture has led to depletion of soil nutrients and a general loss of soil productivity. Coffee and banana growing areas of Mukono, Masaka, Mbale, tea growing at Kyamuhunga in Bushenyi, sugar cane growing at Lugazi season by season has all led to land degradation.




  • Deforestation for purposes of wood fuel and timber in Mabira, Budongo, mt. Elgon forests has led to loss of forests. The continued loss of forests has led to soil erosion and degradation and low and unreliable rainfall in such areas.
  • Bush burning by pastoral tribes of Hima in Isingiro, Kiruhura, Karamajongs in Kaabong, Kotido, has led to loss of vegetation leading to soil erosion and degradation.
  • The use of pesticides and over use of fertilizers in rice growing at Doho, kasaku tea in Mukono, coffee growers in Masaka and Mpigi all at the end leads to pollute soils, leads to death of soil living organisms which are responsible for soil formation thus land degradation.
  • Industrialization has led to water and air pollution especially in industrial cities and towns of Jinja, Kampala, Kasese, Tororo, etc. This emanates from industrial fumes and wastes like Uganda breweries at Luzira pollutes lake Victoria leading to death of aquatic life thus degradation.
  • The effect of poor disposal of industrial products like plastic bottles, polythene bags, which takes long to decay causing soil deterioration. Companies such as coca cola, Nile house of plastics are responsible for accumulation of plastic products into soils thus land degradation.




  • Mining of minerals like copper at Kilembe-Kasese has led to mineral exhuastion and land deformation, clay at Kajjansi-Wakiso has deteriorated swamps affecting rain formation and ecosystem thus swam reclamation.
  • The continued road construction which involves excavating of the landscape leading to soil erosion and landslides. Roads like Kampala-Kabale, Kampala-Gulu, Northern-by pass, Entebbe express high way, have reclaimed swamps, deformed land and cleared forests.
  • Political instabilities in Uganda since 1970s, With 1980s Luwero triangle war, the 20 year LRA Kony war in Gulu, ADF-Kasese threats, Kampala city demonstrations all leads to loss of lives, vegetation and land degradation. Also the tear gas affect man, animals and insects as well as the ozone layer.
  • The practice of indiscriminate fishing and use of poison during fishing has affected the aquatic life leading to exhuastion. On lakes such as Victoria, Kyoga, Albert, fish has reduced and water contaminated by poison affecting human life .
  • Increasing use of second hand motor vehicles, computers and other machinery which emits nitrogen-oxide and other fumes leading to air pollution. In congested towns such as Kampala, Jinja, human life is affected by such fumes causing cancer, acidic rains received and global warming.
  • Floods due to heavy rains have destroyed agricultural land, crops and settlements. Elnino rains of 1997-98 in Uganda led to floods which caused diseases like cholera in Kampala, killed people in Bwaise and kalerwe, destroyed crops in soroti, caused erosion in Kisoro thus land degradation.




  • Mass wasting inform of landslides in Bududa and Bulambuli have burried and destroyed a variety of fauna and Flora. Such slides have caused devegetation, deformation of landscape and death of people.
  • Weeds such as water hyacinth on lake Kyoga and Victoria has affected fish existance since it absorb oxygen gas from water thus fish death. The weeds also affect boat movement and the general fishing industry.
  • Crop pests like locusts, cartapillas, and diseases such as coffee wilt, banana wilt, all attack and destroy Flora in form of crops and trees in Mabira, Mpigi, Luwero, etc. This reduces crop productivity and changes natural vegetation.
  • In addition to above are animal pests like ticks, tsetse flies, which attack and reduce the quality of animals both domestic in Kaabong, Kiruhura, mbarara and also diseases such as foot and mouth, East coast fever killing animals in Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo national Park. This lowers the productivity of fauna in Uganda.
  • Drought ie prolonged sunshine in karamoja areas of Moroto, Kaabong, western rift valley of Kasese, has caused land degradation. Drought leads to wind erosion, reduced vegetation cover and affects the water table thus degradation.




  • Heavy rains characterized by hailstorms have destroyed crops and killed animals in Isingiro, Iganga, Kamuli, Kayunga, etc. Such strong winds have reduced productivity in crops, led to famine and general effect to wildlife.

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