Monday, April 8, 2019

Hear me too - Our lakes are in crisis.

Not like all Fridays, today I felt something special, at around 11am EAT I got hold of my placard together with fellow strikers Nirere Sadrach and Adong Cicily Ben. We jumped into a taxi and headed to the lake shores. This time the shores were quite busy but that didn't stop us from striking, it added us more vigor to create more awareness. Together with students from Precious Hill Christian High school we stated our strike. After one hour of standing in the scorching sun, we started engaging with residents and people in the market. Some were positive while other discouraged us.
Speaking to students of Precious Christian High school

 At around 1:30 pm EAT we stated the lake pickup were were joined by one of the leaders of the Fishermen at the shores called Peter. This time we collected around 10 -12kgs of plastic waste that was dumped in the lakes. This included polythene bags, plastic bottles, metallic bottle covers and metallic containers some of which were dated 2005.This showed us how reluctant people alongside the lake shores are towards preserving these natural resources. We cleaned up the lake shores  while putting plastic waste in big plastic bags.

Over 12kgs of plastic waste collected after the pickup.
Lake Victoria (Nalubaale) is Africa's largest inland fishery and also the world's 9th largest continental lake with a maximum depth of between 80 and 84 meters and an average depth of 40 meters. It being a fresh water body its gifted with different fish species which include Nile Perch, Tilapia, Tiger Fish, Lung Fish, Cat Fish, Elephant Fish, Silver cyprinid, haplocromines among others. Tilapia is one of the latest species of lake Victoria that have contributed to boosting fishing around these shores. Fish species have continued to decline up to now due to human induced activities and a number of environmental issues.

During the pickup we discovered dead immature Tilapia fish that was trapped and suffocated to death in a polythene bag, such disposal of plastic in lakes and rivers is affecting aquatic life and greatly reducing the number of fish in our lakes and rivers. We were greatly touched by the death of this fish because lake Victoria has a shore line of 7142km, you can imagine how many fish die every day. At the end of our pickup we engaged with researchers from Netherlands that liked what we were and encouraged us to continue with our pickups to preserve our water bodies.

Uganda is an agro-based country, lakes and rivers are one of the natural resources that agriculture relies on implying that if we don't preserve these natural resources, agricultural productivity, food supply and security will be at risk. The limited access can affect our lives and cause health and nutritional suffering.

I urge fellow youth and lake shore communities on lake Victoria such as Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja in Uganda, Homa bay, Kendu bay and Kisumu in Kenya, Bukoba, Mwanza and Musoma in Tanzania to take personal and collective responsibility to preserve our lakes for they are in crisis.  

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