Business at Luzira Port Bell has been paralysed by a floating island that has blocked the dock and the market.
According to Uganda Railways Corporation Marines manager Charles Ruzigye, the island also known as suds was blown to the area after the recent heavy rains. Several merchandise imported into the country from Kenya and Tanzania docks at Luzira Port Bell.
“We are lucky that business is at its low peak. Of now we can only handle one ship at a go. The island was separated from Miami Beach about a kilometre from Luzira Port Bell,” he told Daily Monitor yesterday.
Decomposing vegetation has turned the lake water green, Mr Ruzigye noted adding: “This is not our responsibility. There is a project under Ministry of Agriculture funded by the Egyptian government that is supposed to handle these suds. Ever since the political turmoil errupted in Egypt, business has stalled.”
Mr Yakaya Genza, a fisherman at Luzira for the last more than 30 years says the suds last docked in the area in 2011.
“Last time we spent about Shs1.8 million to cut it into pieces and it floated away. This time around, we may need over Shs2 million to do the job because it looks bigger,” Mr Genza said.
Efforts to talk to the Commissioner for Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Wadanya DL Jackson, were futile as his mobile phones were off.
When contacted, Egypt Irrigation Mission in Uganda head Yosry Khasagy promised that his engineers would assess the situation next week. “We have been busy on Lake Kyoga where the situation has been very bad. On Monday, we shall go on ground,” he said.
what are suds?
Floating islands, also commonly known as suds, are a mass of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat ranging in thickness from a few inches to several feet. They are a common natural phenomenon that are found in many parts of the world. Suds are less common as a man-made phenomenon found on marshlands, lakes, and similar wetland locations, and can be many hectares in size.