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'DDT Contaminates L. Victoria'

The Monitor (Kampala)
August 18, 2005
Posted to the web August 17, 2005

By Kelvin Nsangi

DDT has been identified as one of the contaminants of Lake Victoria, according to two synthesis reports on water quality and ecosystem management.

The reports were compiled from findings on agricultural chemicals and metal contaminants in the Ugandan part of Lake Victoria.

"A number of banned organo-chlorinated pesticides (DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin and Lindane) were detected in air showing that they are still in use," one of the reports says.

The reports were presented at the closing of a workshop on water quality and fisheries organised by the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) at Colline Hotel Mukono on Tuesday.

The government has been mounting a big campaign for use of DDT in the fight against malaria since 2004.

"Use of agricultural chemicals has increased in recent years. Many restricted chemicals are being used by untrained persons while adulteration of some is common," one of the reports reads.

The report said its findings were based on studies on concentrations of organochlorinated pesticides in air at Kakira and Entebbe shores of the lake.

The report says air was sampled weekly using a 250m-cubed TEPUF Poly-Urethane Foam High volume air sampler over a 24-hour cycle.

The samples were analysed at Canada's National Water Research Institute and compared to those from Malawi and Canada.

The two reports ,however, say that the Uganda Fisheries Department recent investigation in the pesticide concentration in water, sediment and fish in Lake Victoria showed "no detectable levels of DDT, HCH, PCBs, organophosphates, pyrethroids and Malathion or their derivatives were found in all samples analysed."

The reports say elevated metal concentrations of cadmium, lead, me rcury detected in some rivers in Uganda were caused by human activities. The activities include mining, combustion of fuels, trash burning, biomass burning, use of leaded gasoline and industrial activities.

According to the two reports, mercury was in higher concentration in recently deposited lake sediments than older ones.

This, the reports say, indicates there was increasing environmental degradation.

"Nevertheless, mercury concentrations in sediment, water and fish from Lake Victoria were below the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international environmental guidelines," the reports read. The research scientists said this would contaminate aquatic ecosystem and eventually human life.

Dr Fredrick Muyodi, a water scientist from Makerere University's Zoology Department, told participants at the workshop that Lake Victoria has high faecal contamination.

He was presenting a report on water quality and health conditions.

"The main prevalent diseases at landing sites were malaria, dysentery, diarrhoea, skin related infections and influenza. Cholera seems to be endemic in most sites," Muyodi said.

"In Lake Victoria, cyanobacteria dominate other algal species. These potentially can produce toxins hurting humans and animals. They affect the brain, heart, nervous system and cause liver damage," he added.

Copyright 2005 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (



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