Kenya: Foul Smell Along Kisumu-Busia Road Traced to Hyacinth in Lake Victoria's Winam Gulf

Water testing at the source of River Nile on Lake Victoria in Jinja, Uganda (file photo).
17 February 2020

Kisumu — The foul smell in Kisumu emanating from Winam Gulf in Lake Victoria has been traced to sunken water hyacinth.

National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), North Lake Regional Director Stella Kamwasir Monday confirmed the smell was as a result of sunken hyacinth weed within Lake Victoria.

Kamwasir said most of the water hyacinth weed sunk into the lake after drying up and now causing the smell that has chocked residents along Kisumu-Busia road next to the Kisumu Golf Course.

"As for now, it is almost evident, that the sunken water hyacinth and the algae bloom with this combination of hot weather is increasing the decomposition," she said.

Kamwasir said the hyacinth stalks have rotten coupled with heavy pollution in the lake causing the odour.

Speaking to the press in Kisumu, Kamwasir said Winam Gulf is more susceptible to stink due to its shallowness.

"In the Winam Gulf, it is likely to be more prevalent, because it is on the shallower end," she said.

She said the situation has been more compounded by lack of mixing of water at the Gulf making the weed load and other particles to be higher than any other part of the lake.

The NEMA officer said the lake has experienced serious point and non-point pollution despite government efforts to address environmental conservations.

She said the lake basin is deposited with pollution from catchment areas.

"Being that we are in the Lake Victoria Basin, the catchment area, which is largely agricultural, the application of fertilizer is high," she said.

Kamwasir said the nutrients from the farmlands are reaching the lake contributing to the pollution.

"As an Authority, we have tried to follow that they are complying to the standards, there are occasions where these may be up or down, but to the best of our knowledge and ability these are things that we have tried to put under control," she said.

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