Who owns our natural resources? Why the people are so poor and desperate in rich Lake Victoria Basin
Lake Victoria (Nyanza as called by local people) is the second biggest Lake in the world and the father to Egyptian riches, 40 years ago it had over 320 old fish species; now it possesses only eight species1 It’s basin is potentially the riches region in East Africa and occupied by so poor people, it’s environment in such deep criss1 Why?
The Lake’s resource wealth is further increased by the fact that its soils are among the most fertile in East Africa. The varied and rich cultures of its peoples, its breath taking scenery and abundant wildlife and the thorough vastness of the Lake make it potentially a prime tourism destination.
Factor in region’s capacity for agricultural variety output, industry, hydro- electricity, the gold and other mineral deposit in such places as Tarime, Serengeti, Musoma, Geita and Kahama in Tanzania, and Macalder in Kenya. And again, you are looking at the richest region in East Africa.
The people of this great Lake; the Luo, sukuma, Haya, Baganda etc. are among the poorest in the world. Official statistics put poverty level at an average of 49% of East African population. Malnutrition is wider spread, high child mortality, protein deficiency in this protein rich Zone. Add to this, the economy, social and environmental cost of the deadly HIV/AIDS, whose incidence in the Lake world and a stern picture begins to look very sad.
There are many activities taking place daily in and around the lake: agriculture, Fishing, Irrigation, Mining etc. But all in vain! The people remain poor amid all riches; they are yet to enjoy the fruits of being granted with this golden prize. Most are blaming their governments for not implementing effective strategies towards the basin development.
Waste in the Lake Victoria basin is a two-way highway.
*Flowing down into the Lake is the waste and high population generated upstream and taken through by twenty big feeder rivers (10 in Kenya, 6 in Tanzania and 4 in Uganda). All these and other smaller ones drain their contents into the Lake, taking with them the same severe disease.
Untreated sewage from municipalities, rural towns and village, toxic effluent from industries and sediments (which is carried in huge tonnage daily)
All East African countries are the major contributor to the lake pollution but are doing the least about it. Because of lack of sewer, treatment works; largely unregulated agro industries dump untreated effluent into the rivers or direct into the Lake. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers find their way into the Lake without forgetting the entire weight of village’s waste, which also rolls down into the rivers ending their journey into our precious Lake. And to crown it all, the water from the lakes is used directly for-domestic consumption. activities lake garda