The Egyptian government has started clearing a floating island that has for more than a month paralysed business at Port Bell Luzira.
The floating island measuring about 50 square metres with decomposing vegetation docked at the port late March and has turned the lake water green and stinky.
“We are trying to push it so that it can float away. So far we have managed to split it into two parts. The equipment we have is for floating weed but this island has a lot of soil and thick roots,” the head of Egypt Irrigation Mission in Uganda, Dr Yosry Khasagy, told the Daily Monitor yesterday.
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 Port Bell.
“We are lucky that business is at its low times. Currently, we can only handle one ship at a go. The island was separated from Miami Beach which is about a kilometre away from Port Bell,” he said, adding that Uganda has a Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt under the Uganda-Egypt Aquatic Weed Control Project.
There is a project under the Agriculture ministry funded by the Egyptian government that is supposed to handle these suds.
Mr Yakaya Genza, a fisherman at Luzira for close to 30 years says the suds last docked in the area in 2011.
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.