Lets save Lake Victoria

Lets Act NOW to save Lake Victoria

Lets Act Now, to save Lake Victoria.

Lake Victoria is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and second largest in the world. Located in the upper reaches of River Nile Basin. Its catchment area is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The lake harbours vast natural resources including fisheries, Forests, hills and wetlands. It's a major source of livelihoods to more than fourty million people around it in three countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) and a home to about 300 different species of fish and various species of animals.

The Lake Victoria basin supports one of the densest  and poorest rural populations in the world with densities of up to 1300 persons/km2 in parts of Kenya. With a rising Population along the basin in Kenya that is made up of 11 counties, new obstacles  and hurdles have emerged that require urgent interventions and actions by Conservationists, Policy makers and various stake holders to rescue and   save the lake. Human Activities on the shores of lake Victoria basin Kenya continue to seriously impact on the ecosystem through intense agricultural activities like Cultivation, Over fishing and Livestock farming. The major upshot is deforestation, Loss of Plant life and Animal and coupled with the mentioned above is the massive invasion of water hyacinth that continues to choke the lake and large volumes of algal Bloom that have formed mainly along the lake shores that look like a green paint on lake surface and has a disgusting stench and a threat to safe drinking water and livelihoods.

Photo taken by Ryan Oscar

Algal Bloom along the shores of Lake Victoria In Busijo Beach in Busia County in Kenya.

Various Researchers have noted that we are already experiencing  the impacts of degradation. For example;  Water levels continue to rise  while submerging  Prominent Hotels along the basin and various beaches like Buyukha Beach in Busijo, Busia County In Kenya. As the phantom of Economic and Humanitarian crisis looms larger around lake Victoria basin in Kenya because of increasing water levels that continue to seriously erode shore lines, displacing settlements, causing floods and massive damage to the economy, there is Urgent need to enforce Environmental protection policies and measures  to help protect encroachment, protect water catchment areas that will help control silting and  control pollutants entering the lake. The protective measures are yet insufficient  and the Quality of multi stake holder collaborations is very low. 

There is Urgent need for awareness on Environmental challenges along lake Victoria Basin because we cant Adapt to Loss and damage and since Climate change is about the people being impacted. Various projects and commissions have been created with  a task of coordinating interventions towards sustainable  utilization of the Lake and its resources and has identified among various other issues: Major inadequacies in policy, Laws and institutions especially in addressing emerging issues like Climate change. Rising temperatures, rise of new economic activities like fish cage farming, change in rainfall patterns are emerging threats to the progress made in managing the lake and its resources.  

In the absence of well coordinated , supported urgent actions towards livelihoods enhancement and efforts towards ecosystem restoration, the lake won't be in a position to sustainably continue to provide it's Ecosystem services. It's every ones responsibility to maintain healthy environment and also its of much importance for the National Environment Authority (NEMA), Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and other responsible organizations to escalate actions, awareness, alternatives and enforcement towards environmental protection and climate mitigation along Lake Victoria Basin because we cannot adapt to loss and damage. 

The Writer is the Founder of Kenge Content Hive, a Youth led non-profit organization that works on Environmental Protection, Nature Conservation and sustainable development along lake Victoria basin in Kenya.