• Water hyacinth harvester is wasting away after costing state Sh80 million.
• Weed blocks several beaches and paralyses marine transport and fishing in the lake.
Even with the promise by the government to revive the water hyacinth harvester that has been lying idle for five years, it is evident that water hyacinth is on Lake Victoria to stay.
The machine cost the government Sh80 million yet lack of proper personnel led to the breakdown of the machine which has since then been wasting away. As this happens, the weeds continue to spread, covering 4,000 hectares of the lake according to the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.
This blocks several beaches and paralyses marine transport and fishing in the lake. However, there is a need to focus on the causes of the growth of weeds to find out how to deal with it. The weeds don’t grow out of the blue; there are causes which must be identified first to know how to deal with them. One major cause of the growth of the weed is environmental pollution.
There is a need for the National Environment Management Authority to ensure there are proper ways for every institution around Lake Victoria to properly dispose of their wastes. This should include all schools, morgues and prisons. This way, even lifestyle diseases will reduce as the citizenry will not eat fish from a polluted lake which otherwise causes health complications and a rise in such diseases as cancer.
The government should revive the costly machine and put it to its intended use before fisherfolk are put out of jobs and livelihood. Many people will also be put out of jobs related to fishing if the destructive weed is not controlled.
The lake and fishing grounds will continue to shrink and fish will diminish, hence putting at risk the food security of the lakeside county and eventually of the whole country, threatening one of the state’s Big Four agenda.