So far, four drone-based imagery surveys have been conducted in Murchison Bay and one in Jinja with the objective of keeping a close watch on the floating islands' movements and guide machine deployment to right targets. The survey shows that there are about 100 hectares of floating weeds in Murchison bay, Port Bell with more than ten hectares in Jinja District.
A multi-sectoral initiative led
by the Ministry of Agriculture has embarked on efforts to clear floating islands
that are currently eating up part of Lake Victoria.
In the second week of April, a
twelve-acre island reached Nalubaale Power Station in Jinja causing a
countrywide power blackout. Since then, the government embarked on monitoring
and aerial surveillance to locate and eventually dismantle the islands.
So far, four drone-based imagery
surveys have been conducted in Murchison Bay and one in Jinja with
the objective of keeping a close watch on the floating islands' movements and guide
machine deployment to right targets. The
survey shows that there are about 100 hectares of floating weeds in Murchison
bay, Port Bell with more than ten hectares in Jinja District.
The State Minister for Fisheries
Hellen Adoa stresses that the other problem areas where many floating islands
are roaming include Bunjako Bay (Mpigi-Kalungu), Sango Bay, River Kagera in Kyotera
district, and Fielding and Thruston Bays in Mayuge.
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Experts in the agriculture
ministry have blamed the occurrence of floating islands, also known as suds, to
the rise in the water levels which has led to the detachment of large chunks of
land and vegetation from the mainland in various parts of the country close to
the lakes. The said vegetation has since started to move on the surface of the
At the Port Bell, the floating
vegetation has covered most parts of the pier causing a big threat to the
marine vessels blocking them from getting direct access to the berthing
The vegetation which can be
mistakenly be seen as a usual wetland to strangers in the area has also covered
up the entire part of Miami beach. However, the operation to clear this has
since intensified, and slowly it is being harvested, drawn out of the lake, and
dumped on the mainland.
Pius Wakabi, the Permanent Secretary
of the Ministry of Agriculture notes that they have prioritized Port Bell and
Jinja because these are likely to pose a threat of reinfection to the dam. He
notes that the primary objective to ensure that they don’t get into the
“We have deployed excavators,
Dump Trucks, self-loading trucks, Barges, harvests, one Fisheries Research
Vessel, and a Ferry. With these we break the floating weeds into small
masses,” says Wakabi. He, however, notes that most of the equipment used had
spent a long time without working thus facing several mechanical challenges
which have delayed the process.
Wakabi, however, notes that the
bigger challenge still lies ahead on Lake Kyoga which is already affected by
many heavy floating weed-mats including the Kariba weed. He adds that the
ministry has however been carrying out special studies at L. Kyoga which they
think will ascertain the current abundance and distribution of weed mats with
the aim of unblocking and dredging the lake in the near future.
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In addition to strengthening and
developing a comprehensive strategy for Lake Kyoga Aquatic weed management. The
ministry is considering to fully maintain and operationalize the equipment on
Lake Kyoga (Kakooge and Moone landing sites) that was during the 1998-2000
blockage. Besides Lake Victoria and Kyoga, the ministry is also considering
looking at other water bodies who are faced with a similar challenge.
The Director for Fisheries in the
ministry, Dr Edward Rukunya notes that the suds possess a threat to aquatic
life as there cut off oxygen supply thus a need to handle them quickly.