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Stench Of Massive Lake Victoria Algae Bloom Driving Residents Away

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 12:47 PM
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Stench Of Massive Lake Victoria Algae Bloom Driving Residents Away

On a 10km boat ride from Ggaba to Port Bell last week, Saturday Vision saw a vast mass of green algae. In a one kilometre radius from the point where the Nakivubo Channel enters Lake Victoria, the water has turned black underneath the green algae mass. For another three kilometres beyond the black zone, the water is green and slimy like paint. An offensive smell emerged from the water, especially the black zone, inconveniencing residents and workers around Luzira.

Fishermen said whereas in the past such green masses lasted only days, this time it had persisted for weeks. The black water closer to the mouth of the Nakivubo Channel has become a permanent feature. "This place is now permanently smelly," says Hussein Tamale, a fisherman at Ggaba landing site on Lake Victoria. Some fishermen say the green mass has denied them fishing areas as they cannot fish in the smelly water. "I can't imagine eating smelly fish," says Hussein Tamale, a fisherman at Ggaba.

Others say it exposes them to health risks since many of them depend on raw water from the lake for cooking, drinking and other domestic uses. Fishermen say the water in this area heats up by itself, and produces bubbles. Water Engineer Kiwanuka Ssonko says this could be a result of heat and methane gas produced during the decomposition of organic wastes that flow into the lake through the Nakivubo Channel.

The locals refer to the green mass as Mubiru, because they associate it with spirits. However, experts blame it on pollution by waste being driven from Kampala through Nakivubo Channel and industries near Port Bell. "The problem is municipal waste and sewerage that flows untreated into the Nakivubo Channel and then into the lake," says Ssonko.

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