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Africa Freshwater Lake System – Uganda Junior Rangers
By Mutumba Faisal
Africa’s freshwater lake system is endowed with natural beauty and is known for unique flora and the many endemic marine species within its lake and rivers. But, unlike the saltwater coastal shores of Africa that attract visitors from all over the world and the attention of international conservationists, inland freshwater lakes and rivers remain unexplored and neglected.
Due to neglect, the freshwater lakes and rivers are dying. This leads to ecological damage, causing alterations in marine species composition, distribution, and abundance. It’s all happening as a result of deoxygenation from human activity. Contributing factors include the direct discharge of industrial effluents and agricultural chemical pollution from farms exporting flowers and other agricultural products to Europe and North America. These practices have resulted in the extinction of hundreds of marine species. Climate change is worsening the situation, causing frequent flooding of nesting areas. And, there is an ever-increasing amount of marine plastic debris, including plastic bottles and ‘ghost’ fishing nets chocking the lakes and the rivers.
Further causing a health catastrophe are the millions of toxic marine microplastics being ingested by humans in fish meals and drinking water, leading to the silent death of thousands across Africa every year.
Yet, if well preserved, Africa’s freshwater lakes and rivers have the potential to transform the continent. This could happen by enhancing the nutrition of millions of children, improving clean water access, lifting millions out of poverty through employment in the fishing industry, water sports, and marine tourism, further saving lives and, in turn, boosting the life expectancy of the continent’s inhabitants.
Initiatives such as the Uganda Junior Rangers program are working to save the continent’s nature and unique climate, marine flora, and fauna. Uganda Junior Rangers, an environmental conservation non-profit organization, is doing that by promoting a culture of environmental and heritage stewardship through volunteerism and educational opportunities.
The Rangers are working to save Lake Victoria, the largest remaining wilderness freshwater source in Africa, while extending their expertise and knowledge to other parts of the continent.
Lake Victoria Conservation Diving Mission 2020 –Uganda Junior Rangers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWtrsmHF1CQThe organization was formed after the realization that no one African government on its own is able to save these freshwater bodies. However, through local and international collaborations, the freshwater bodies in Uganda and across the continent be protected and saved from dying.
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