Dumping of industrial waste on the shores of Lake Victoria in Jinja district is contributing to the fast depletion of fish resources on the lake.
Ernest Nabihamba, the Jinja District Environmental Officer, says the pollution has grown because of the unregulated dumping of waste in the lake. He explains that the waste leads to high concentrations of ammonia, which depletes the water of oxygen and suffocates fish.
//Cue in: iWater coming from #i
Cue out i# affect the fish.i//
Lake Victoria is the largest tropical freshwater lake in the world. It is an important source of food and water for the East African region.
A study by the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute that was conducted 10 years ago noted with concern the increased human activities in agriculture and industry around the lake that led to increases in municipal effluents and industrial waste. It warned that the fish stock in Lake Victoria was at risk of being cut in half because of the dumping of toxic chromium, phosphorus and nitrogen in the lake.
Lucas Ndawula, a senior ecologist with the fisheries institute, says the situation hasn't improved since that report was released a decade ago. He however says the pollution of Lake Victoria is not a conscious act of many living along the lake shores.
Ndawula says many people are unaware that simple agricultural practices like use of chemical fertilizers near the lake shore or dumping of waste from the distillation of waragi are harmful to the lake.
//Cue in: iMany times we find #i
Cue out: i#about such things.i//
The Jinja Fisheries Department gazetted fish breeding sites in Masese, Bugembe, Walukuba and Wairaka to help boost the stock in Lake Victoria. However Sarah Namulondo, the District Fisheries Officer, says thousands of fish have died there in the past three weeks. She says she is waiting for a report from the National Environmental Management Authority to determine the cause of problem, but says she cannot rule out the possible link between dumping of industrial waste in the lake and the dead fish.