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Ban on plastics to address dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria, scientists say

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Mon, August 28th 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 27th 2017 at 21:36 GMT +3
Pollution blamed for fish decline in Lake Victoria. [File, Standard]

In summary

  • Government has banned manufacture and use of plastic bags in the country
  • Scientists and local fishermen say the ban would help save certain fish species  
  • Plastics have been polluting the lake, curtailing movement of fish in the lake

With the ban on plastics set to take effect today, scientists are upbeat that the move will address the dwindling fish stocks in Lake Victoria.

Fishermen too have praised the move, saying it will help save certain fish species, including Tilapia that they said have been on the brink of extinction as a result of heavy pollution of the lake.

Interviews by The Standard with scientists, locals and fishermen, established that they were happy that the move will help save the fresh water lake that is facing a myriad of challenges.

Christopher Aura, an environmental scientist and the Kisumu director of The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, said that plastic pollutants in the lake have been having damaging effects on aquatic life as well as on fishing and tourism activities.

Mr Aura said the lake has been heavily affected by several pollutants including plastics which have curtailed the movement of fish in the lake.

“Plastics block water ways and also interferes with the circulation of oxygen in the lake. Fish can easily be chocked as a result of interference in air supply and free movement of water,” said Aura.

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As a result, he said, the breeding characteristics of some fish species have been affected negatively by pollution.

In the recent past, several experts including the East African Community raised concerns over the heavy pollution of the lake.

Dr Ali Matano, the Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission, called for stringent measures to help address the continued degradation and pollution of the fresh water lake. [Harold Odhiambo]

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