What you need to know:
The issue: State of L. Victoria
Our view: In this era when the effects of climate change have become a matter of grave concern that demand urgent actions to mitigate the impact, keeping Lake Victoria and its shores in good state is the right and wise step to take.
Something good is happening in the East African region. This newspaper on Monday reported that the World Bank has approved a $240m (Shs905b) loan for the third phase of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project. The fund is meant to address a myriad of challenges afflicting the lake basin across five countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.
It is important to note that Lake Victoria plays a pivotal role in the region. It moderates the regions climate and offers a critical fishing ground for the population living near the lake, among others.
Fishing contributes both income and food for to the population living near the lake and beyond. The lake is also a big tourist attraction. It is also worth noting that Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world.
Yet in spite of all these positive attributes, Lake Victoria is today experiencing an alarming rate of pollution. Therefore, there is urgent need to clean up the lake to keep it in shape for the current and future generations.
Conserving Lake Victoria through cleaning, among other measures, will see increased growth of fish numbers in the lake. This, coupled with responsible fishing methods, will multiply employment opportunities in the fishing industry for the thousands of many unemployed youth, many of whom are becoming a big headache to governments in the region.
Besides, Lake Vitoria provides countries in the region with a huge opportunity to use the lake as transport centre. The current ports on the lake, include the ports of Mwanza, Musoma, and Butiaba in Tanzania; Port Bell and Jinja in Uganda; as well as Kisumu in Kenya.
A properly developed water transport system on the lake, apart from easing movement of people, labour and goods, will also boost the provision of jobs to a growing number of restless job seekers in the region.
Most importantly, in this era when the effect of climate change has become a matter of grave concern that demands urgent actions to mitigate the impact, keeping Lake Victoria and its shores in good state is the right and wise step to take.
In light of all this, we applaud the World Bank for providing funds for the environment management project for the express interventions in the badly degraded catchment areas of the lake, including swamps and river banks.