Environment advocates from Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (BCF), Green Climate Campaign Africa (GCCF) and Fridays for Future Uganda (FFU) have unveiled a campaign to relieve Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater body of solid waste, especially plastics and polythene bags.
The campaign launched at Lambu landing site, in Bukakata sub-county, Masaka district on Wednesday will also foresee and increase solid waste collection at different landing sites across Greater Masaka Region to ensure good sanitation.
The environmental activists say that due to poor management, solid waste of all kinds is eroded into the lake and contaminates the water in addition to suffocating the fish.
According to Antonio Kalyango, the Executive Director-Biodiversity Conservation Forum (BFC, the campaign came after various reports from different experts indicating that the water from Lake Victoria is increasingly getting contaminated and may affect people’s health and livelihoods in addition to fish production.
He explained that the residents around the landing sites need to be encouraged to get involved in such campaigns aimed to protect the lake from being contaminated.
“We appeal to local leaders and communities along lake shore to involve themselves in waste management and proper disposal,” he said
Kalyango added that residents and fishermen on the lambing sites are responsible for the negative effect on the lake and prevailing climate change effects.
He appealed to the community to often place the waste in the gazetted dumping sites to prevent it from getting eroded into the lake.
Timothy Mugerwa, the Executive Director- Green Climate Campaign Africa (GCCF), said that the increasing detrimental human activities on the lake, growing population and unchecked encroachment are partly responsible for the lake’s pollution.
He appealed to the government to intervene and support the campaign to save the lake and improve the sanitation of the landing sites.
“The human activities meted on the water bodies and other areas of protection without check by concerned officials have facilitated increased abuse to the eco-system,” he said
Lia Namugerwa, the Team Leader –Friday for Future Uganda (FFU), said that the world is left with only five percent of the freshwater lakes and that’s why it is very important for countries that share the lake in East Africa to step up efforts to protect it from contamination.
She noted that plastic production has tripled or even quadrupled from the time plastic bottle soda and water was manufactured.
According to Rashid Babu, the Manager of Mpongo Limited, which is managing the Landing site, they are trying to collect the plastic bottles around the landing site but they are still challenged by the increasing usage and poor disposal of polythene bags.
Gerald Lubezi, the Bukakata sub-county councillor, applauded the campaign, saying that they will continue sensitizing the community about the importance of proper waste management to protect the lake and improve the sanitation of the place.
He added that the more they neglect very important issues concerning the lake, the more they will suffer in the end.
Rose Nakyejjwe, the Masaka District Environment Officer, confirmed the increasing pollution of the lake saying it has led to the decline in fish production and people’s incomes.
“Early this year tones of Nile perch died due to lack of oxygen because too much waste was eroded into the lake yet most of it is toxic and this was caused by human activities,” he said
The campaign will roll out to other districts with awareness campaigns to help communities understand the importance of good waste management.