Toxic Algae Hits Lake Victoria

Kampala — Toxic algae has been found on Lake Victoria, a senior government official said yesterday.

Florence Adong, the commissioner in charge of water quality management in the water ministry, said waste from Kampala, dumped in the Nakivubo channel for the last 40 years, has poisoned the lake.

She reported the presence of a toxic blue-green species of algae on the lake, which she said was an indication of pollution.

Adong, who was part of the team led by the water minister, Maria Mutagamba, was responding to issues raised by members of the parliamentary natural resources committee.

She noted that the deteriorating water quality has increased the water treatment costs at the Gaba plant. She added that there was need to acquire modern equipment to assess the safety of Uganda’s lakes.

In June, the water state minister, Jennifer Namuyangu, took MPs and other government officials around the inner Murchison Bay and showed them the impact of the city drainage.

During the tour, it was observed that 14 tonnes of raw sewage is emptied into the lake daily. Adong told the delegation that the bay had been declared ‘dead’.

The most affected section is near Port Bell in Luzira, a city suburb, where the Nakivubo Channel empties sewage into the lake. The section, she said, is massively contaminated with faecal material, rendering the water unsafe.

Mutagamba told the committee that activities like car washing at Kinawataka, a city suburb, were the major causes of the lake’s death. She said Luzira Prisons also drains waste directly into the lake, which should not be allowed to continue.

On pollution, she said there was need for modern equipment to detect categories of pollutants coming from human activities, oil and gas. She said sh6b was needed to acquire upgraded laboratory equipment and facilities.

On afforestation of bare hills, river banks and lake shores, she said the ministry requires an additional sh12b annually to consolidate the NRM manifesto.

She revealed that over sh2.3b had been allocated for environmental compliance and enforcement.

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