Lake Naivasha choking from waste and effluents

Ongoing rains wash the waste into the water body, including plastic bags

In Summary

• Water levels in the lake have risen sharply in the past few months

• Families from nearby informal settlements are farming on riparian land

Youths from Kihoto near Lake Naivasha clear drainage systems clogged by waste swept by ongoing rains
Youths from Kihoto near Lake Naivasha clear drainage systems clogged by waste swept by ongoing rains

The ongoing rains that have been pounding parts of the country have led to high siltation in Lake Naivasha due to massive soil erosion in the catchment areas.

The situation has been worsened by tonnes of effluent, including sand and pumice, that are being washed into the water body from quarries in Naivasha.

This came as it emerged that all rivers leading to the lake are now flowing as water levels in the troubled lake rise by the day.

Lake Naivasha Basin Landscape Association chairman Paul Ruoya said the effects of the heavy rains were felt in the lake.

He said there are high levels of soil erosion due to poor farming methods by farmers bordering rivers.

“All the rivers leading to Lake Naivasha are now flowing but the water is brown, an indication of high levels of soil erosion, which could have adverse effects on the lake in future,” he said.

Ruoya termed the ongoing rains both a blessing and a curse to the lake.

He feared that chemicals from farms near the rivers would find their way into the lake and affect its ecosystem.

Grace Nyambura, chair of the Lake Naivasha and Oloidien Boat Owners’ Association, said sand from quarries in South Lake had contributed to the high silt levels in the lake.

She said beaches around South Lake are currently covered by pumice from the quarries, making them inaccessible.

“Whenever it rains, tonnes of sand and quarry chips from nearby quarries easily find their way into the lake, and this is affecting the breeding grounds of fish,” Nyambura said.

She said the ongoing rains are also washing other waste, including plastic bags, into the lake, raising fears of an environmental disaster in the coming months.

“Since the papyrus weeds were mowed down, all the waste has been washed into the lake, and this will have major effects on the lake,” she said.

Nyambura identified informal settlements next to the lake as the major pollution contributors, with waste from Naivasha town also finding its way into the water body.

“We have seen that the colour of water flowing in our rivers is very brown, and this is an indication that there is heavy silt from the catchment area,” she said.

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