Nyabihu - Local residents in Nyabihu District say that infrastructural development around Lake Karago, including the construction of a military camp in Mukamira in 1980s, are some of the factors to blame for the deterioration of the water body.
This was disclosed during a consultative meeting with conservationists to find ways of addressing the problem of environmental degradation around the Lake.
Other activities cited include over grazing, deforestation and over cultivation in the area.
“This lake formed naturally in 1900s. It was a major source for fish and a clean water reservoir. But human activities led to direct erosion and drained it up,’’ lamented Misago Sebukoko, a 70 year old resident of Karago Sector.
“Due to activities which blocked the water flow, now it’s a problem for us, it causes constant floods,” he said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources organised the meeting that brought together district forest officers, from the districts of Nyabihu, Rubavu and Ngororero, opinion leaders, agronomists, beekeepers and NGOs.
The meeting resolved to plant trees, end human activities at the banks of the lake to help restore it.
Lyliose Umupfasoni, the Director of Environment and Forestry at the Ministry of Natural Resources, called for ownership of the initiatives to restore the degraded natural resources and refrain from illegal human activities which degrade the forest.
“People here should learn from the past; what has been happening caused a lot of degradation. We need to take action. We need to put efforts together and restore these wasted resources because there is a strong link between poverty and misuse of resources,’’ Umupfasoni urged.
A reforestation initiative within Gishwati forest reserve has been launched in Nyabihu District and is expected to lead to the increase of water levels in the lake.
The project will be supported by the Canadian government through International Union for Conservation of Nature-IUCN, African model forest network-RAFM, PAREF.