By Gerald Tenywa and Francis Kagolo
Vision Group will on Monday start a campaign to Save Lake Victoria, which experts say is threatened by over fishing and pollution.
In the one month campaign, which ends on June 6th, a day after the UN World Environment Day, investigative stories will run in New Vision and Bukedde newspapers.
The stories will also highlight abuse of the lake and their impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of Uganda and East Africa at large. Also good practices among communities, industries and local authorities will be highlighted to inspire action.
Vision Group will broadcast on Bukedde FM, Bukedde TV and Urban TV during the campaign, which pioneered last year and is now an annual campaign. The radio and television stations will also hold specific talk shows and run documentaries.
Describing Lake Victoria as Ugandans’ bloodline, Vision Group’s editor-in-chief, Barbara Kaija, underscored the need to unceasingly pursue the campaign to save the lake.
“For us to achieve success we have to keep Lake Victoria and the campaign to save it on the agenda because it’s our bloodline as a country, the biggest source of our water. The lake’s basin also has some of the most fertile soils that support food security in the country,” Kaija noted.
“As a media company, we cannot treat this campaign as a one-off story. The campaign will be kept on the agenda to cause change.”
Kaija implored the Government, civil society, local government authorities which surround the lake and all Ugandans to make saving the lake a priority.
“We are doing this because we believe that as a leading media house, it’s our social responsibility to alert Ugandans and the wider east Africa on the dangers of not protecting Lake Victoria,” she said.
“This lake is our life. It is our posterity. It is at the heart of Uganda’s survival. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to preserve it,” Kaija said, calling upon other stakeholders to join the campaign.
She decried the unsustainable manner in which the lake is being utilised.
“As Vision Group, we are sounding the alarm that something needs to be done. We are saying all Ugandans can do something to preserve the lake and should do it now,” Kaija said.
In a separate interview, Flavia Munaba, the State Minister for Environment said the Save Lake Victoria Campaign will address ignorance, which is one of the biggest challenge facing the lake.
“People use the shores of the lake without clear guidelines,” Munaba said, adding that there is a challenge of getting people to understand why the 200 meters of the shoreline should be left as part of the protection zone of the lake.
Munaba also pointed out, “The campaign will bring information so that people get to know what is happening and the implications to their lives. It will help people to understand so that they can engage in management of the lake. The Government institutions will take action in case some of the things are hidden from them or work faster if they have been slow.”
She also described Lake Victoria as a fresh water lake which does not benefit Uganda, but also East African countries, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Other countries that benefit from the lake include South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt since the lake feeds the White Nile with water.
Corruption, according to Dirisa Walusimbi, a fisherman at Ggaba has ruined efforts to conservation of the lake leading to over fishing and destruction of its catchment.
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Save Lake Victoria campaign begins on Monday