Firms blamed for hyacinth in Lake Victoria

Thursday June 6 2013

By ANGELA OKETCH AND EVELYNE OKEWO [email protected]

Factories are responsible for the spread of water hyacinth in Lake Victoria, according to the national environmental watchdog.

‘The effluents being released to the lake have highly contributed to rejuvenation of water hyacinth in Lake Victoria, which is depleting the lake resources,” said National Environment and Management Authority (Nema) director Godfrey Wahungu.

Prof Wahungu, who was addressing celebrations to mark World Environment Day at Maseno University yesterday, called on agro-chemical industries to embrace new technologies of releasing effluents to avoid contaminating water resources and the environment.

Cleaner mechanisms

The weed recently resurfaced in Lake Victoria, slowing down the multi-million-shilling fisheries sector and hampering water transport.

Prof Wahungu said plans were underway to create a reward scheme that will recognise factories that will have put in place cleaner production mechanisms.

At the same event, Kisumu county commissioner Lorna Odero lamented that ‘‘water hyacinth has remained a menace to the lake resources.”

At the same time, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) challenged Kenya to revise its policies to boost food security.

Dr Paul Omanga, a FAO official who spoke at the function, also said tonnes of food exported by developing countries to developed countries were rejected because it did not meet quality standards.

Dr Omanga cautioned on the use of wrong chemicals as additives because they lead to food wastage.