Wood fuel use patterns in urban areas: A case study of Kampala City
Arupo Maloba, Christine
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With the current strategy by the government of Uganda to protect the environment and natural resources sector in the country, wood fuel (charcoal and firewood) is one of the forms of energy used in the country. A study was conducted in Kampala district to determine the wood fuel use patterns in Urban Kampala. Cross-sectional data was collected, coded and disaggregated along household incomes categorized as low and medium income households according to asset/income indices. Other data was collected from commercial cooking shelters, institutions and traders. The data was analyzed using the computer statistical package for social scientists (SPSS) software to determine the fuel use patterns for the households, institutions and commercial cooking shelters. The relationship between fuel demand and factors affecting it were derived by separately looking at factors like affordability, availability, convenience and cleanliness of fuel for the primary and secondary fuel. Also derived from the study was the relationship of demographic factors like household size, education level of household head and the household income with the main wood fuel consumed. The major findings show that Charcoal and fire wood were the main source of fuel across both household income groups and restaurants. Charcoal and fire wood together accounted for 100% of the primary source of fuel used among the commercial cooking Shelters and the low income group. While in the medium income group it accounted for 97.3% of the fuel used. Charcoal was the most commonly used biomass (Charcoal, fire wood, dung and crop residues) fuel at 80.3% and 97.3% for low medium income households. The study revealed multi use of fuels (Source of energy used in the study for cooking) mostly with the medium income households were only 33.8% do not use any secondary form of fuel, and followed by the low income households at 59.2% not using any other fuel in addition to the primary fuel. Therefore, both household categories were more fuel secure if they used biomass fuels. Commercial cooking shelters only used biomass fuels with 61.1% and 38.9% for charcoal and firewood as the primary fuel. This meant that wood fuel was used most, and there was very limited multi use of fuel at only 5.6%. The institutions constituted universities and Mulago Hospital which mainly used gas as the primary fuel and to a lesser extent used electricity and fire wood as secondary forms of fuel. On examining the reasons for demand of the primary fuel, affordability and convenience in use of the fuel ranked highest followed by cleanliness of the fuel and availability of the fuel respectively. This meant that the cost of the primary fuel played a key role in influencing the choice of primary fuel used, followed by the other factors mentioned above. The main reason for demand of the secondary fuel was convenience. On further analysis of demographic factors, a relationship between the household size, education level of household head, income of household and the demand of wood fuel was established. The household size had a positive relationship with wood fuel consumption and was significant in both the medium and low income groups. This meant that for an extra increment in the family size by one person the wood fuel consumption increased by 6.9 and 3.3 mega joules in the middle and low income households respectively. This implies that large families consume more energy than small families. The results also indicated that the household income and level of education in the medium and low income households were insignificant at 10% probability levels suggesting that wood fuel consumption is not affected by the household income, since households have varying fuel energy and commodity preferences. To achieve the third objective the average annual household consumption of wood as charcoal was determined and highest in the medium income households followed by the low income households at 6095kgs and 4745kgs per household per anum respectively. From the results 10.97 and 8.54 tons of carbon dioxide would have been sequestered in a year if the different households had used alternative sources of energy. And therefore, 1859 and 1448 healthy trees would be consumed by the medium and low income household respectively. This shows wood fuel consumption has a great impact on the environment (carbon dioxide absorption and deforestation). The wood fuel was locally produced within the Country and mostly in the central region, stretching to as far as Masindi and Hoima. Therefore, the study calls for an urgent need to address the concern of environmental degradation due to wood fuel use.