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Pesticides, fertisers used in farming pollute Lake Naivasha

 

Workers from one of the hotels around Lake Naivasha erect illegal structures along the lake. [File, Standard]

Stakeholders have raised alarm over the use of pesticides and fertilizers by small-scale farmers around Lake Naivasha.

They have warned that this poses a major threat to the lake ecosystem and the fisheries sector which employs hundreds of people directly and indirectly.

With the lake levels receding daily due to the dry spell, tens of farmers have encroached on the riparian land mainly around the central landing beach.

In the last couple of months, the riparian land around the troubled lake has come under threat from tens of pastoralists seeking pastures for their animals and the farmers.

According to Enock Kiminta, the chairman Lake Naivasha Water Resource Users Association (LANAWRUA), human activity around the riparian land was worrying.

He said that a study carried out by the association had proven that there was massive use of chemicals by the small-scale farmers out to make a quick buck.

Speaking over the weekend, Kiminta identified Manera and Kihoto as the most affected areas and challenged NEMA and the Water Resources Authority to intervene.

“Currently the riparian land is under threat as we have recorded massive use of chemicals which in future could hurt the lake,” he said.

On the water levels, he said that there was a slight improvement following the ongoing short rains in the catchment area.

He, however, noted that there was need for long-term measures by conserving the catchment areas in the Aberdares which were currently under threat.

“The lake is the mainstay of hundreds of people through the flower farms and fisheries and we should do everything possible to make sure that water flow is maintained,” he said.

Earlier, the Nakuru County government called for a fresh audit on fish caught from Lake Nakuru following earlier reports that some species had high levels of lead metal.

In 2000, researchers drawn from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Marine Fisheries Institute (KEMFRI) warned of the presence of toxic heavy metals found in fish within the lake.

The CEC nominee for health docket in Nakuru County Dr Samuel Mwaura noted that despite the ban, fishing and sale of the fish were going on in the town.

He said that there was an urgent need for further and comprehensive research on the lake so as to stem a crisis that would affect many in future.

“There was a blanket ban on fishing two years ago in the lake due to allegations of the presence of lead in fish from the lake and we are calling for more comparative studies,” he said.