We ought to Lake Victoria pollution and overcrowding

31Oct 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
We ought to Lake Victoria pollution and overcrowding

POLLUTION is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light.

Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances and energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution. In 2015, pollution killed 9 million people in the world.

Major forms of pollution include: Air pollution, light pollution, littering, noise pollution, plastic pollution, soil contamination, radioactive contamination, thermal pollution, visual pollution, water pollution.

Air pollution has always accompanied civilizations. Pollution started from prehistoric times, when man created the first fires. According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, "soot" found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires." Metal forging appears to be a key turning point in the creation of significant air pollution levels outside the home. Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman, and Chinese metal production.

In the same vein, overcrowding leading to pollution in Lake Victoria has increased the risk of overfishing thus threatening the existence of fish and other water animals in the lake.

Researchers say the increasing population in the Lake Victoria Region over the past decades has led to a share of 35 million people who depend on the Lake increasing the risk of overfishing and pollution.

Assistant Research Fellow for the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organisation (STIPRO), Innocent Wawa says that the situation was threatening not only the fish stock but also the environment and ecosystems.

“This calls for a need to think more about sanitation issues and ways to preserve water and natural resources,” he said.

He said as a contribution towards this problem, STIPRO from Tanzania in partnership with other 10 institutions from Europe and East Africa are implementing a project on “Integrated Aquaculture based on Sustainable Water Recirculating System for the Lake Victoria Basin (VicInAqua) that intends to build an innovative pilot with a Recirculation Aquaculture System (RAS).

The Aqua project idea is to develop and test novel self-cleaning water filters which consist of a highly efficient particle filters as well as a membrane bioreactor (MBR) as principal treatment unit within a combined system, where the cleaned but nutrient rich effluent water from aquaculture will be used for agricultural irrigation.

Musambya Mutambala, a research fellow also from STIPRO added that the VicInAqua project will create a platform where knowledge can be transferred among local and regional aquaculture operators, scientific community as well as small fish farmers, with a focus on the involvement of women.

He says the project will benefit locals not only by enhancing capacity building but also raising awareness on RAS technology. RAS technology helps fish farmers to catch up with modern fish standards. It is thus essential for the fishing industry development, food security and national economy growth.

He said the ultimate goal of the project is to reach a decentralised, integrated, sustainable, cost effective and robust solution for the wastewater treatment from the fish industry and households in a closed loop.