Field studies were carried out near Lake Muhazi, Rwanda, to investigate the pollutants present and salinity of soils and the physicochemical content of aeolian dust. The data on aeolian dust and saline sediments showed that soil formation and salinization may be related to aeolian processes. The ecological status of the region a major cause of aeolian material in the Lake. The results revealed that dust originating from the dried bottom of the Lake and riversides contribute to the formation of East African dust storms and adversely affects the climate of the region. Apart from copper and zinc that were identified as heavy metals that polluted the Lake, petroleum products, Fe and Mn were also the main pollutants. Chemical properties of the soils are related to sediment composition of aeolian material, some elements like Zn, Fe, Cd and Cu. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.