Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, with a total area of 69,000 square meters. It is one of the most important bodies of fresh water in the world. It is located on the border of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. A high density area. 50 million people live on the lake, including 200,000 fishermen.
Thousands of people live around the lake. A very modest population, which above all does not have a plastic handling system. However, the people who live there are totally affected by the pollution of plastics, in particular the unique packaging found everywhere, but also the fishing nets, bottles and containers.
The coasts around the lake are completely polluted. This situation is sometimes masked by the tourist activity that represents 20% of the wealth of the place.
Éric Loizeau will accompany the expedition of the boat “Flipflopi”. A boat built with only recovered plastic waste. It is 10 meters long and originates from the Indian Ocean coast. It is a “dhow”, a traditional and mythical boat, because according to the fable of Iraqi origin, it is this type of boat that Sinbad would have used, during his voyages in the seas of the East of Africa.
The particularity of this boat is that it was built with 30,000 pairs of flip-flops. Slippers collected on the beaches of the Indian Ocean! The idea of this mission is to educate the population and governments to limit plastic waste. Decrees have been signed in Kenya and Tanzania to limit disposable bags, but nothing is being respected.
Limiting plastic pollution would, however, improve freshwater production for all people in the villages around the lake. “We try to explain to them that if we promote plastic, if we can give it a market value, we can create a kind of microeconomics that they can benefit from.”
Street scavengers could take care of collecting the plastic, so that it doesn’t end up in the lake. What must be understood is that the garbage found in the lake ends up in the White Nile. One of the arms of the Nile. This is a big problem, because sooner or later they reach the Nile and end up in the sea.
If nothing is done in the next 10 years, Lake Victoria will probably dry up. Your level is already dropping steadily. If the lake dries up, it will be a disaster for all countries neighboring the lake, as the population lives mainly from fishing and tourism in this region.
This situation can also lead to conflict because, thanks to the Owens Fall dam in Uganda, “the lake is a resource important water for Sudan and Egypt in particular. To avoid any geopolitical crisis, we must therefore fight corruption and enforce laws”, explains Éric Loiseau. “Now it is a government priority”, he said.