EA to ad­dress hy­acinth, poor fish­ing habits on Lake Vic­to­ria

If we don’t ad­dress th­ese prob­lems now, they will be­come big­ger and big­ger. If we don’t act now, it will be dif­fi­cult to ad­dress it in fu­ture, sec­re­tary Matano says

The Star (Kenya) - - News - ANGWENYI GICHANA @agichana

The East Africa Com­mu­nity mem­ber states Kenya, Uganda, Tan­za­nia, Bu­rundi, Tan­za­nia and Rwanda have reaf­firmed their com­mit­ment to ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges that face Lake Vic­to­ria.

The coun­tries have ad­mit­ted that wa­ter hy­acinth has choked the lake.

Other prob­lems are pol­lu­tion and dis­rupted fish­ing and trans­port sys­tems.

Min­is­ters, PSs, EAC sec­re­tariat of­fi­cials, East Africa Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly mem­bers drawn from EAC’s five mem­ber states and Lake Vic­to­ria Basin Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials spoke at Tom Mboya Labour Col­lege in Kisu- mu dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions to mark LVBC’s 10 years an­niver­sary.

The cel­e­bra­tions were pre­ceded by the 17th Sec­toral Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of the LVBC meet­ing. The lead­ers promised to solve prob­lems that face Lake Vic­to­ria, such as the hy­acinth.

LVBC 2016-21 and Pop­u­la­tion, Health and the En­vi­ron­ment strate­gic plans and the com­mis­sion’s web­site were launched.

Tan­za­nia’s deputy min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ramo Makani, who is also Se­com chair­man, was the chief guest. He said the lake would be en­dan­gered if im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tions are not put in place.

“Lake Vic­to­ria is fac­ing mul­ti­ple chal­lenges, mostly con­trib­uted by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties. Each part­ner state should co­op­er­ate with its neigh­bour to man­age re­sources,” Makani said.

Some of the prob­lems in­clude un­sus­tain­able fish­ing prac­tices, re­duced wa­ter in­flow and wa­ter­shed degra­da­tion.

Each mem­ber state is ad­dress­ing the hy­acinth prob­lem un­der the Na­tional Im­ple­ment­ing Teams, co­or­di­nated by the LVBC.

Com­mis­sion ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary Ally Matano said the lake’s fu­ture is threat­ened. “If we don’t ad­dress th­ese prob­lems now, they will be­come big­ger and big­ger. If we don’t act now, it will be dif­fi­cult to ad­dress it in fu­ture,” he said.

“How­ever, we have put in place reg­u­la­tory frame­works and strate­gies to ad­dress th­ese prob­lems.”

Wa­ter PS Fred Se­gor said even though sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made, the chal­lenges are yet to be over­come.

He rep­re­sented Wa­ter and Ir­ri­ga­tion CS Eu­gene Wa­malwa.

Also present were EAC deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral for pro­duc­tive and so­cial ser­vices Christophe Bazi­vamo, Mbogo Fu­takamba, the chair­man of the re­gional pol­icy steer­ing com­mit­tee and Tan­za­nia’s Wa­ter PS, EALA MP Va­lerie Habineza and Kisumu county com­mis­sioner Maalim Mo­hammed.

Bazi­vamo said the EAC’s pop­u­la­tion growth is a threat to the en­vi­ron­ment and called for con­certed ef­forts in ad­dress­ing the high pop­u­la­tion growth.

/ MONICAH MWANGI

EAC deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral Christophe Bazi­vamo (L) and Tan­za­nia’s deputy min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ramo Makani launch the Lake Vic­to­ria Basin Com­mis­sion’s Strate­gic Plan 2016-21 at Tom Mboya Labour Col­lege on Satur­day

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