The drive to clean up Lake Victoria has kicked off in earnest as various organisations partner to restore the water body’s lost glory.
Spearheaded by Osiepe Sango (Friends of Lake Victoria) Organisation, the exercise targets to remove plastics and other waste washed into the lake.
Osiepe Sango Director Millicent Olal said the efforts were geared towards restoring the lake to its pristine condition following years of neglect and massive pollution.
Plastic pollution, she said, threatened the survival of the lake posing a danger to human beings and aquatic life.
When washed into the lake, she added, plastics are broken down into micro plastics which are ingested by fish.
“Since we all eat fish we end up consuming this substance which is harmful to our health,” she said.
The livelihoods of over 14 million people who directly depend on the lake, she added, were equally threatened due to the plastics menace.
The cleanup, which was officially launched by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o at Nanga area, saw participants remove tonnes of plastics and plastic bottles from river Wigwa which drains into Lake Victoria.
Osiepe Sango, she added, has partnered with the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI), Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, Water Bus, Wildlife Parks of Kenya, Amazon, Friends of Dunga Swamp among other organisations to scale up the exercise to other parts of the lake.
“We have started here today but this drive is going to be extended to Dunga Beach and other beaches to ensure that we restore the lake,” she said.
Speaking during the launch, Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong’o said his government will work closely with the organisations to ensure that the lake which is a key resource is conserved.
He challenged Kisumu residents to stop reckless dumping of waste to reduce the amount of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials washed into the lake.
“We must all know that it is cyclical. You throw the plastics here, it is washed into the lake, fish eat the plastics, you eat the fish and die,” he said.
Nyong’o further directed the City Management of Kisumu to enforce segregation of waste at household level to ensure that plastics are not washed into the lake.
The exercise, he added, was a buildup activity to the 2023 Fish Fiesta which shall be held in the lake side city during the Easter weekend.
Revellers will be treated to the best freshwater fish from Lake Victoria, traditional Luo cuisine, music and traditional wrestling.
Other activities lined up during the event include Miss Tourism, Mr Tourism, Mr Flex, Mr Strong, tug of war, boat racing among others.
The event and build up activities are geared towards promoting Kisumu as a tourist hub.
By Chris Mahandara