National Environment Management Authority-NEMA has embarked on a plan to protect Lake Bunyonyi from depletion as a result of increased human activities. Lake Bunyonyi is 25 Kilometers long and 7 Kilometers wide. The lake is surrounded by 29 Islands and several major towns along its shores. Communities around Lake Bunyonyi engage in is cultivation as their major source of income.
The human activities around Lake Bunyonyi pauses a great threat to its existence. Siltation has become a major challenge on the 3rd deepest East African Lake as a result of poor cultivation methods. As result, National Environment Management Authority –NEMA- has decided to intervene and save the lake from extinction.
Jecko Musingwire, NEMA officer in charge of Western Uganda has asked residents to leave at least five meters from the shores of the lake. Musingirwe has also ordered residents to use terracing and plant tree to protect the lake from silting.
He explains that the depletion of Lake Bunyonyi would greatly affect the tourism industry of the country. Records from Kabale district indicate that 6500 tourists visited Lake Bunyonyi last year.
Drake Owoyesigire, a farmer who cultivates along the shores of Lake Bunyonyi says moving five meters away from the lake will be difficult for the farmers since the land is costly.
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Owoyesigire says that investors always utilize the land next to the shores and asking them to move will affect them. Yanet Mugasa who owned African Explorer hotel which is alongside the lake says NEMA should target the locals and the process should be bottom up.
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He criticizes NEMA for failing to carry out inspections on the lake and sensitizing masses. Simon Byamukama an environmentalist working with Let Us Save Uganda-LUSU- says agro forestry is the only way to protect the lake from depletion. He says terracing has failed to work as the locals don’t practice it. Byamukama says tourists have been complaining of the increased mud in the lake.
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Recently divers who came to recover bodies of Danish tourists who drowned in Lake Bunyonyi blamed the failure to find the bodies on mud. Bunyonyi in locals means a place of many little birds and its one of the tourism destinations in the country with its unique favorable condition.