Kenya: Sonko Appeals for Permanent Solution to Water Hyacinth Menace

Boats along the shore of Lake Victoria surrounded by water hyacinth.
27 November 2018

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has challenged conservationists to save Lake Victoria from the hyacinth weed that is choking it.

Governor Sonko noted on Tuesday that the floating weed, which has covered 360 hectares of the lake so far, has hampered movement and fishing.


The governor spoke at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, where the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference is taking place.

Mr Sonko asked leaders and environmentalists to find a solution to the water hyacinth menace, which he said has also limited the growth of the economy, where the second largest fresh water lake in the world is concerned.

"It is not okay that all environmental experts are unable to find a solution to this menace. We should make a resolution at this conference that we will now allow factors to negatively affect the blue economy without concerted efforts to address them. We need to find a way to permanently remove this weed. We owe it to our people," he said in his address to the conference.

Lake Victoria borders Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the Kenyan side being the most affected by the weed.


The Governor also called for an end to the pollution of oceans, lakes and rivers, terming it a danger to all mankind.

He hailed Kenya's ban on plastic bags, saying it has drastically reduced the quantity of plastics that end up in the water bodies.

"We must conserve our environment. Ocean, lake and river pollution poses a danger to all mankind. Kenya recently banned the use of plastic bags, most of which ended up in dumpsites and into the water system," he said.

"Our oceans and lakes offer us immense potential for employment, agriculture, tourism, energy, industry and travel. With it, we can end hunger, provide livelihoods and improve our standards of living. It is up to us to harness this potential."


Governor Sonko promised that his administration will intensify the campaign to clean Nairobi River.

"In the last four months, we have removed hundreds of tons of waste from our rivers and are now conducting a campaign to sustain the momentum," he said.

Regarding the city beautification programme, UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said Nairobi is a great example of how to manage the environment.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa also praised the county, saying,"I thank Governor Sonko for making Nairobi more beautiful than it has ever been."

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