Kisumu City : The dying Lake
|A man pointing where hyacinth has replace water|
Kisumu is Kenya’s 3rd largest town after Mombasa. It was named the first millennium city in 2006 by UN-HABITAT.
Kisumu has an estimated population of about 0.9 million half of which are men according to 2009 census. Despite its reputation which dates back to 1901 when the first railway line connecting Kenya and Uganda was built, Kisumu has had its fair share of woes which includes the slow death of world’s third largest fresh water lake, the Lake Victoria known locally as Nam Lolwe.
Nam Lolwe named “Lake Victoria“after the British queen Victoria is a shared lake between three east African countries that is Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Lake Victoria is larger on the side of Uganda and Tanzania with Kenya having only a small piece of the Lake.
Despite having the smallest share of the lake, Kenya’s economy relies heavily on the fish export from lake Victoria which contributes about 6 Billion shillings ($50 million) every year to the Kenya economy, About 0.5 % of GDP. Fish from Lake Victoria contributes about 90% of the total fish export.
In 1989 a weed known as water hyacinth was discovered in Lake Victoria. The origin of the weed (water hyacinth) that is said to double in size between 6-15 days was traced back to South America.
Before 1989 the third largest fresh lake water had not known what to be infested by hyacinth looked like. Hundreds of Thousands of families earned their living from the lake. From fishermen to middlemen to fish mongers, the lake was the gold mine.
Today almost the entire lake that once served as source of livelihood for the better share of Kisumu population is in the hands of water hyacinth. Lake Victoria looks just like a vegetable plantation.
Although several use of water hyacinth has been found, Lake Victoria’s future remains bleak.
|Lake turned into a vegetable plantation|