Robinah Kulabako

Robinah Kulabako
Makerere University · Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD

About

55
Publications
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1,142
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Publications

Publications (55)
Article
Over 90% of the population in Kampala Informal settlements is served by onsite sanitation facilities (septic tanks and pit latrines). These fill up fast, leaving emptying as the most viable option for their sustained reuse. This study fills the gap for the limited information about different emptying technologies suitable for informal settlements a...
Article
Weathered basement aquifers are vital sources of drinking water in Africa. In order to better understand their role in the urban water balance, in a weathered basement aquifer in Kampala, Uganda, this study installed a transect of monitoring piezometers, carried out spring flow and high-frequency groundwater level monitoring, slug tests and hydroch...
Article
Full-text available
Shallow groundwater is vulnerable to faecal contamination, especially in low-income urban areas where use of on-site sanitation facilities is high. This paper explores statistical relationships between potential factors influencing contaminant pathways (i.e., variables) and observed faecal contamination of shallow groundwater, represented by nitrat...
Article
Faecal indicator organisms (FIOs) are limited in their ability to protect public health from the microbial contamination of drinking water because of their transience and time required to deliver a result. We evaluated alternative rapid, and potentially more resilient, approaches against a benchmark FIO of Thermotolerant coliforms (TTCs) to charact...
Article
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We mapped the double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus assemblage in groundwater below sub-Saharan urban poor settlements in Arusha (Tanzania), Dodowa (Ghana), and Kampala (Uganda). Our results indicated that ∼80% of dsDNA virus sequences matched the order of Caudovirales, i.e., indigenous bacteriophages; 1.8% of the dsDNA virus sequences matched those of...
Article
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Socio-institutional factors are poorly addressed in the risk assessment of groundwater contamination. This paper contributes to the development of a socio-institutional assessment framework based on a case study of contamination by on-site sanitation (OSS) in an informal settlement of Bwaise (Kampala, Uganda). We conducted a snapshot survey of the...
Article
We detail our attempts at empirical modeling of MODIS derived Chlorophyll a (Chl a) distribution on Lake Victoria in East Africa and consequently its trophic status. This was motivated by the need for Lake Victoria specific algorithms, as the current satellite based standard algorithms overestimate derived Chl a. In situ Chl a data was hence collec...
Article
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This study investigated the occurrence and seasonal variation in concentrations of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) in shallow groundwater underlying two peri-urban areas of Bwaise (highly urbanised) and Wobulenzi (moderately urbanised) in Uganda. Twenty-six antibiotics, 20 hydrocarbons, including 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and...
Article
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Fluorescent natural organic matter at tryptophan-like (TLF) and humic-like fluorescence (HLF) peaks is associated with the presence and enumeration of faecal indicator bacteria in groundwater. We hypothesise, however, that it is predominantly extracellular material that fluoresces at these wavelengths, not bacterial cells. We quantified total (unfi...
Article
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High urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has resulted in increased peri-urban groundwater contamination by on-site sanitation. The World Health Organization introduced Water Safety Plans (WSP) towards the elimination of contamination risks to water supply systems; however, their application to peri-urban groundwater sources has been limited. F...
Article
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Inadequate hygiene coupled with the conjunctive use of the shallow subsurface as both a source of water and repository of faecal matter pose substantial risks to human health in low-income countries undergoing rapid urbanisation. To evaluate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions in a small, rapidly growing town in central Uganda (Lukaya)...
Article
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This Perspective positions urban challenges in informal settlements in the Global South as a question of how to coproduce actionable knowledge for sustainability transitions, and how this relates to power issues. The aim is to inform those who are actively working on sustainability transitions in practice how to navigate the pluriform ways power ma...
Conference Paper
Two billion people still consume drinking water contaminated with faeces. To improve this situation, it has been recognised by UNICEF and the WHO that a more rapid approach to detecting faecally contaminated drinking water is necessary. We have previously demonstrated that fluorescence spectroscopy is a significant real-time indicator of the presen...
Article
Full-text available
The levels, speciation of elements, and toxicity of selected trace metals as well as other parameters in selected surface water, shallow groundwater sources, landfill leachate, and associated surface runoff in the Lake Victoria basin, Uganda, were studied. The WHO guidelines, Ugandan standards, Canadian guidelines and Swedish EPA were used for asse...
Article
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Many peri-urban cities of Sub-Saharan Africa are overwhelmed with overloading the existing centralised wastewater treatment plants and high capital costs of operations and maintenance. In this work, a pilot decentralized faecal sludge treatment system (DEFASTS) was constructed in Kampala for assessing the performance and potential benefits of the t...
Research
Full-text available
Many peri-urban cities of Sub-Saharan Africa are overwhelmed with overloading the existing centralised wastewater treatment plants and high capital costs of operations and maintenance. In this work, a pilot decentralized faecal sludge treatment system (DEFASTS) was constructed in Kampala for assessing the performance and potential benefits of the t...
Article
Full-text available
Improving urban liveability and prosperity is commonly set as a priority in urban development plans and policy around the world. Several annual reports produced by international consulting firms, media, and global agencies rank the liveability of cities based on a set of indicators, to represent the quality of life in these cities. The higher is th...
Article
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Tackling global inequalities in access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) remains an urgent issue – 58% of annual diarrhoeal deaths are caused by inadequate WASH provision. A global context of increasing urbanisation, changing demographics and health transitions demands an understanding and impact of WASH on a broad set of health outcomes. We...
Article
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This paper explores how transition management processes can be designed to address the unsustainability of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in informal settlements in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The unsustainability of services related to WASH in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa is deeply embedded in current societal and g...
Poster
Full-text available
Faecal contamination of shallow groundwater systems in small but rapidly developing town
Preprint
Full-text available
The unsustainability of the services related to water, sanitation and hygiene in informal settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa services is deeply embedded in current societal and governance structures, cultures and practices; it is context-dependent and involves numerous actors with different interests. The field of sustainability transitions research...
Article
There is increasing interest to improve the functionality and performance of pit latrines in low income urban areas. This study aimed at assessing the ambient and pit environmental conditions and their implications on the performance (smell and fly nuisance) of pit latrines. Forty-two pit latrines were investigated in urban slums of Kampala, Uganda...
Article
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Large scale application of biogas latrine technology in developing countries faces technical, socioeconomic and financial challenges. As a result, harnessing its full potential has not been realized. This study examined variables describing the design, construction, operation and maintenance of nineteen biogas latrines in relation to their performa...
Article
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Background The effect of seasons on health outcomes is a reflection on the status of public health and the state of development in a given society. Evidence shows that in Sub-Saharan Africa, most infectious diseases flourish during the wet months of the year; while human activities in a context of constrained choices in life exacerbate the effects...
Article
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BackgroundA pit latrine is the most basic form of improved sanitation which is currently used by a number of people around the globe. In spite of the wide spread use, known successes and advantages associated with pit latrines, they have received little attention in form of research and development. This review focuses on the usage and performance...
Article
In many urban poor areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), demand for human excreta disposal is met, predominantly by pit latrines. This study aimed at determining the status of pit latrines (design, construction, operation and maintenance) and its influence on latrine performance (filling, smell and insect nuisance). The study was conducted on 130 pit...
Article
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Coffea canephora, Cyperus papyrus, and Musa spp. were studied for competitive and noncompetitive removal of aqueous Cd2+ and Pb2+. The optimal conditions were pH 4.5 and agitation time 3.0 hours. Biomass constituent ions showed no interference effects whereas cation exchange capacity values corresponded to the sorption efficiencies. XRD spectroscop...
Article
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The vadose zone can function as both a filter and a passage for bacteria. This review evaluates when and why either effect will apply based on available literature. It summarizes theories and experimental research that address the related, underlying bacterial attenuation processes, the applied macro-scale modeling approaches, and the influencing f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Low cost agricultural wastes; Coffea canephora (coffee husks) and Musa spp (banana peels) were used as biosorbents to remove aqueous Cd (II) and Pb (II) ions from contaminated solutions. The parameters; pH, agitation time and initial metal ions concentration were evaluated in batch studies at 24°C for biosorbent dosage 12.5g L-1. The surface organi...
Article
Untreated and chemically treated Albizia coriaria, Erythrina abyssinica and Musa spp. were studied in batch for uptake of Cd(2+) and Pb(2+) ions at pH 2.0-9.0 and agitation time of 30-390 min. Optimum biosorption conditions were pH 4 for Pb(2+) ions and pH 5 for Cd(2+) ions, contact time was 3.5 hours at 24 ± 1 °C for 10 mg/L biosorbent dosage and...
Article
Sanitation improvement is crucial in saving lives that are lost due to water contamination. Progress towards achieving full sanitation coverage is still slow in low-income informal settlements in most developing countries. Furthermore, resources are being wasted on installing facilities that are later misused or never used because they do not meet...
Article
Full-text available
Urban catchments in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are increasingly becoming a major source of phosphorus (P) to downstream ecosystems. This is primarily due to large inputs of untreated wastewater to urban drainage channels, especially in informal settlements (or slums). However, the processes governing the fate of P in these catchments are largely unkn...
Article
Full-text available
The transport of excessive phosphorus (P) discharged from unsewered informal settlements (slums) due to poor on-site sanitation is largely unknown. Hence, we investigated the processes governing P transport in a 28 km2 slum-dominated catchment in Kampala, Uganda. During high runoff events and a period of base flow, we collected hourly water samples...
Conference Paper
Improving access to sanitation in slums in East Africa is a challenge. The 3ksan project has been working to identify the barriers and catalysts to sanitation in Kigali, Kampala and Kisumu. Household surveys in the informal settlements in these three cities have provided insight into the different levels of service provision and demand, access to f...
Article
In low income settlements where the quality of drinking water is highly contaminated due to poor hygienic practices at community and household levels, there is need for appropriate, simple, affordable and environmentally sustainable household water treatment technology. Solar water disinfection (SODIS) that utilizes both the thermal and ultra-viole...
Article
Full-text available
This study was undertaken to create an understanding of greywater characteristics and to demonstrate a low cost reuse option involving application of small tower gardens for Greywater treatment and reuse in a peri-urban settlement, Kawaala in Kampala city, Uganda. To realise this, field surveys, greywater and soil sampling and analysis and, tower g...
Article
Microbiologically contaminated water severely impacts public health in low-income countries, where treated water supplies are often inaccessible to much of the population. Groundwater represents a water source that commonly has better microbiological quality than surface water. A 2-month intensive flow and quality monitoring programme of a spring i...
Article
Like most cities in developing countries, Uganda's capital city, Kampala, is experiencing urbanisation leading to an increase in population, and rapid development of peri-urban (informal) settlements. More than 60% of the city's population resides in these settlements which have the lowest basic service levels (sanitation, water supply, solid waste...
Article
Eutrophication is an increasing problem in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and, as a result, the ecological integrity of surface waters becomes compromised, fish populations become extinct, toxic cyanobacteria blooms are abundant, and oxygen levels reduce. In this review we establish the relationship between eutrophication of fresh inland surface waters...
Article
In a urine diversion dry toilet (UDDT), the urine and faeces are collected separately in order to recycle their nutrient content unmixed. In a UDDT, an additive e.g. lime, wood ash, dry soil or sawdust, depending on which one is easily accessed by the users, is usually sprinkled to the faeces after each defecation. The purpose of the additive is pr...
Article
Deeply weathered crystalline rock aquifer systems comprising unconsolidated saprolite and underlying fractured bedrock (saprock) underlie 40% of sub-Saharan Africa. The vulnerability of this aquifer system to contamination, particularly in rapidly urbanizing areas, remains poorly understood. In order to assess solute and viral transport in saprolit...
Article
Faecal-oral transmission of pathogenic microorganisms is widespread in rapidly urbanising areas of sub-Saharan Africa where access to adequate sanitation is limited and there is a range of contaminant pathways between faecal sources and the consumption of household water derived from groundwater. High-frequency sampling of a protected spring in Kam...
Article
A study to assess the impacts of land use and hydrogeological characteristics on the shallow groundwater in one of Kampala's peri-urban areas (Bwaise III Parish) was undertaken for a period of 19 months. Water quality monitoring was carried out for 16 installed wells and one operational protected spring to ascertain the seasonal variation. The aspe...
Article
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To understand Phosphorus (P) sources and transport processes in the subsurface in Bwaise III Parish, Kampala, P attenuation and adsorption capacities of soils were studied in situ and from laboratory measurements. Relationships between sorption parameters and soil matrix properties, rates and mechanism of the adsorption process and soil P fractions...
Article
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Effective improvement of the current poor environmental sanitation in peri-urban Kampala requires an understanding of pollutant characteristics (types, sources, locations and loads). As part of an on going study, this paper presents pollution characteristics in Bwaise III and challenges encountered during the period 2002-3. Findings show that pit l...
Article
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Models and formulas for foundation design have been developed and modified over time. The most commonly used formula is that proposed by Terzaghi along with its modifications made by Vesic, Meyerhof and Hansen. However validation tests carried out in Makerere University and University of Cape Town show that Terzaghi's model does not accurately simu...
Article
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Previous studies carried out by Nishaat (2009) and Nyamutale (2009) showed that Terzaghi's bearing capacity model did not adequately predict the bearing capacity failure in soils [1]. Nishaat carried out her investigation on Philippi Dune sands using a physical model that was built in a geotechnical laboratory. The failure surfaces she observed in...

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