LAKE VICTORIYA: Roadmap for Water Quality Management in Mwanza, Tanzania

Lake Victoria is a world-renowned ecologically unique waterbody sharedby three countries—Tanzania (51 per cent), Uganda (44 per cent) and Kenya (5per cent) and supportive of socioeconomic activities and aquatic species. The natural ecosystem of the lake and its flora and fauna are the basis for an expanding population and burgeoning economic activity in the region. Thelake supports the most productive freshwater fishery in the world, worth US $600 million annually and supports over 70 per cent of the population in the catchment area depending on agriculture.However, this fragile ecosystem has suffered immensely from anthropogenic activities and could be damaged irreversibly in the absence of appropriate interventions. This calls for devising intervention measures aimed to improve the health of the Lake.  

Therefore, CSE and National Environment Management Council (NEMC) in collaboration with other stakeholders came with a roadmap for water quality management of Lake Victoria at Mwanza City. The city was identified as a hotspot contributing a substantial pollution load in the form of industrial effluent, domestic sewage and dumping of solid waste in the discussion paper released by both the institutions in July 2022. It also recognized two rivers including the Mirongo and the Nyashishi as the major waterbodies with a significant discharge of pollution load into the Lake. While Mirongo carries mostly domestic sewage, Nyashishi gets industrial effluent discharge on its way to the Lake. 

The report analysed water samples of the rivers and found out high levels of pollutant (BOD and COD) in both the rivers which are being discharged in the Lake. Additionally, report identifies gaps and highlight challenges in management of solid waste, industrial effluent and domestic sewage. Subsequently, the report proposes pollution source specific interventions to minimize the pollution load entering into the water bodies along with holistic measures to monitor and regulate the trends in the water quality of the Lake. 

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Ishita Garg