'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
The reports were compiled from findings on agricultural
chemicals and metal contaminants in the Ugandan part of Lake
"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
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
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
According to the two reports, mercury was in higher
concentration in recently deposited lake sediments than older
This, the reports say, indicates there was increasing
"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
"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.
2005 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by
AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).