Lake Victoria turning green with algae blooms

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 22 March 2010

Pollution in parts of Lake Victoria is worsening so fast that soon it may be impossible to treat its waters enough to provide drinking water for the Ugandan capital, a senior official said on Monday.

Satellite image of Lake Victoria. Water quality has been adversely affected by pollution and drought.

The lake, east Africa’s largest by area, also supplies water to millions in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, and supports fishing communities in all three countries.

Gerald Sawula, deputy executive director of Uganda’s state-run National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), told Reuters that the lake’s Murchison Bay, the northerly inlet on which Kampala sits, was becoming a “dead” zone. “It is a real crisis, the water has turned completely green with algae blooms swamping the whole place,” he said.

“The water has become so thick from effluent that is being discharged directly into the lake because the wetlands that used to filter it have all been destroyed by developers.” Fisheries experts say heavy concentrations of pollutants are killing certain fish species. “As more algal blooms, phosphates, nitrates, heavy metals and faecal matter all pile into the lake, it’s going to be harder and harder to clean the water,” Sawula said.

“It’s very obvious that in future the National Water and Sewerage Corporation won’t be able to treat water from Lake Victoria to a level safe enough for domestic consumption.”

The local daily New Vision reported on Monday that the utility was considering extending intake pipes far out into the lake as pollution near the shore exceeds treatable levels.

Development analysts say the pollution problem will only worsen as Kampala’s population, estimated at 2.5 million, expands fast, straining its fragile and perennially underfinanced waste-handling capacity.

Source: Reuters Africa

5 thoughts on “Lake Victoria turning green with algae blooms

  1. Something else should be mentioned in your article. 200 of the roughly 400 most colorful freshwater mouth-breeding Cichlids endemic to Lake Victoria are extinct. Loss of half the cichlid species has been termed as “the greatest vertebrate mass extinction in recorded history” by Les Kauffman, a chief scientist at Boston University. To make matters worse, by the 1950s British officials actually introduced new fish in the lake’s waters: the Nile tilapia and Nile perch.

    The Nile Perch can grow to a hefty six-foot, 200-pound giant by feeding primarily on the smaller fish, Cichlids which are now 1% of fish weight in the lake compared to 80% in the late 1970s. 90 of the 200 species are in the hobby some have been photographed and published at the Cichlid Explorer website

  2. I think that this is a big problem and that someone should do something about it.

  3. Pingback: Use a UV filter to control pond algae

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