Providing hope for the future of Lake Victoria’s ecosystem and economic potential
Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, is of tremendous importance to the ecosystem and the population in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, providing water for both domestic and industrial use.
However, plastic waste pollution has become a significant problem in the region. This pollution affects the lake’s biodiversity, water quality, and the availability of fish. Promoting recycling and waste reduction, as well as implementing effective waste management systems, are necessary measures to address plastic waste pollution in Lake Victoria.
Cleaning up Lake Victoria
To address the urgent need to sustain the ecosystem and economic benefits of Lake Victoria, the Greater Kampala Plastic Recycling Partnership, accompanied by the GIZ-Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS), is supporting the Kampala Lake Victoria Clean-up & Circular Economy (KVCC) Project. The overall objective of the partnership is to improve the sustainable management of plastic waste in Greater Kampala through developing an inclusive green recycling sector.
The KVCC project contributes to both removing litter from two heavily polluted bays, namely Murchison and Nakiwogo Bays in Lake Victoria, as well as tributaries such as the Nakivubo channel in the urban area of Kampala.
Implementing this project are the NGO One-Earth-One-Ocean (OEOO), which specialises in marine litter prevention and removal, and the Uganda Junior Rangers (UJR), a local environmental conservation non-profit organization that promotes a culture of environmental and heritage stewardship through volunteer and educational opportunities.
By removing waste from the lake and its tributaries, the project aims to prevent further damage to the lake ecosystem and ensure its economic sustainability. The KVCC project also seeks to promote plastic waste recycling and encourage the development of efficient local resource recycle systems that enables the re-introduction of plastic waste into the economy, adding value to waste and providing a source of income to the local communities around the lake.
120 tons of waste collected from Lake Victoria
As a result of the lake clean-ups under the KVCC Project, 120 tons of waste have been collected from in and around the lake by local volunteers. The NGOs have also constructed a catamaran, equipped with nets to collect the floating plastic waste on the lake, under the project.
Strengthening and development of efficient circular economy systems
Aside from collecting plastic waste, one of the project priorities is to support and strengthen the development of local recycling in the lake’s surrounding communities. Sorting zones known as base camps were established as part of the project to enable the sorting, cleaning, and transportation of collected plastic waste for further processing. To aid in the development of an efficient recycling system, the project ensured that the local community partner received two TukTuks for waste transportation, a catamaran for waste collection on the water, and a compactor with a matching generator for waste compression. The goal is to increase their capacity to earn from the plastic recycling value chain while also demonstrating responsibility for the management of the lake’s natural resources.
Creating awareness for sustainability among the local population
Additionally, to pursue a long-term mindset change that allows for the control of plastic pollution and the societal adoption of the circular economy concept, it is critical to raise awareness for recycling and enable the appreciation of waste as a potential source of income for local communities. Communities, including fishermen, have gained knowledge about plastic waste management as a result of the project.
Furthermore, environmental education campaigns have been carried out in schools under the project. Partners have established an educational program to ensure that pupils learn more about waste disposal and, as a result, become good environmental stewards. The project recognizes that to stimulate long-lasting change, special attention must be paid to developing young people’s mindsets.
One Earth One Ocean and the Uganda Junior Rangers have demonstrated which significant impact could be achieved if cleaning up the lake was prioritized and pilot activities under the KVCC project were upscaled. NatuReS aims to support impactful interventions that create long-term ecosystem and economic resilience through supporting partnerships for natural resource management, increasing knowledge, and institutionalizing good practices such as those demonstrated by cleaning up Lake Victoria.