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Lake Victoria is the Heart of East Africa but Conservation Strategies are Needed

 Edwin  Soko,Environmental Writer  Mwanza

Standing in the heart of East Africa, Lake Victoria is an enormous mass of water that stretches across countries, cultures, and histories. A visit to the lake offers the chance to explore the diversity of local communities, as well as sight some of Africa's most prized wildlife.

Lake Victoria in East Africa  is the second largest lake in the world, covering an 2 area of 68,000 km and surrounded by a dense and fast growing human population of at least 25 million people.

In addition to its size, the lake is unique in several ways. It supports one of the world’s biggest inland fisheries aimed at both domestic consumption and international export and it has experienced some of the most extreme ecological perturbations ever observed in a large freshwater environment.

Biologically, Lake Victoria is perhaps best known for one of the greatest mass extinctions of fish species in modern times - a drastic depletion of biodiversity which has unanimously been associated with the deliberate introduction in the mid-1950s of the predatory Nile perch.


Revenue from fishing had increased from Tsh18.5 billion ($9 million) in 2017 to Tsh26.3 billion ($12 million) in the 2018, according to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture.

The parliamentary report linked the increase in fishing revenue to the ongoing operations against illegal fishing and the security measures put in place to protect fish resources in Tanzania, mostly in Lake Victoria.


Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries data shows that Tanzania harvested an estimated 300,000 tonnes of Nile perch, Kenya about 50,000 tonnes and Uganda 350,000 tonnes last year.

Mwanza residents deepend  much  on  Lake  Victoria for  economic activities, With a population of nearly one million, Mwanza depends on fishing and mining as its core economic activities.The city is home to 13 fish processing factories with the installed capacity to process about 1,065 tonnes of fish per day, despite its  economic   dependence on the  lake , many  early  residents still   pollute  Lake  Victoria.

James   Kulwa  is  a vendor of plastic bottled water in Mwanza City, Tanzania. The 22-year-old man wakes up every day to collect 50 to 80 bottles from industrial companies to sell in the streets of the city.

“I usually go to the city agents of companies every day, and collect bottled water, to sell to the people in the streets,” he says and adds, “The business pays a lot and I don’t intend to stop it.”


Kulwa  is among many young and energetic youth in Mwanza engaging in the selling of the plastic bottled beverages in the city.

But where do most of the bottles go after use? Do the vendors and the companies selling plastic bottled beverages collect back the plastic for proper disposal?


“We don’t collect; my work is to sell and not collecting bottles; there are people from the city council who are entitled to do the work,” says James  Mwita , a bottled water vendor in Mwanza.


Some NGO  in Mwanza  such  as Environmental  Management  and  Economic Development Organization ( EMEDO) are  very helpful in educating  about  the  impact  dumping  plastic wastes on  Lake Victoria, efforts  to preserve   Lake  Victoria   are not  for  one person  but for  many as  its  benefits   are  for the people of  East  Africa.

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