Thursday April 7 2011

Algae chokes L. Victoria

WASTED: Algae on Lake Victoria water at Kitubulu Bay in Entebbe yesterday.

WASTED: Algae on Lake Victoria water at Kitubulu Bay in Entebbe yesterday. The thick green rot is threatening aquatic life. PHOTO BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA 

By Martin Ssebuyira

It looks like sewage except it is Lake Victoria. But more than the chills that numbs upon seeing the dead algae that has turned Lake Victoria waters at Kitubulu Bay in Entebbe slimy green and emitting a pungent smell, is the concern about its effect on economic activity on the waters.

Environmentalists and residents around Lake Victoria are concerned that the algae is affecting fishing activity. “It has been on for the past two weeks and we can’t help. We are just waiting for any intervention from government,” Hamid Mazila, a fisherman at Kituubulu, said.

The algae have been blamed on pollution by industries near the lake in Entebbe. Kituubulu Bay is located a few metres from the Entebbe-Kampala highway near Entebbe town. The bay is one of the favourite hangouts for revellers from Kampala.

Mazila said dead algae reduces fish stock in the water as it suffocates aquatic life.
Prof. Oweyegha Afunaduula, a member of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists said algae usually go with time but with disastrous effects.

Fish dying
“They choke leaving organisms in the water, make water dirty and unfit for human consumption and odour that emanates from them can be nauseating,” Prof. Afunaduula said.

He, however, decried lack of adequate funding to his organisation, saying it denies them a chance to effect intervention on the lake. State Minister for Environment Jessica Eriyo said they are aware of the problem and that her ministry has tasked the National Environmental Management Authority to investigate. She said Nema is yet to finalise its report on the dead algae.

However, Nema’s Executive Director, Dr Ariamanya Mugisha yesterday declined to comment on the matter, saying he needed time to find out more information on the situation before speaking to the media.