Lake Bunyonyi, located in Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District, is a stunning natural wonder with clear waters, lush hills, and numerous islands. However, recent human activities are causing concern among conservationists.
One such activity is car washing, which may seem harmless but is having a negative impact on the lake’s ecosystem. Conservationists worry about the runoff water from car washing, which contains oils and grease harmful to Lake Bunyonyi’s biodiversity and the neighboring wetlands, including Nyamuriro, which provides water for domestic use.
Achilles Byaruhanga, the executive director of Nature Uganda, a local conservation NGO, explained that this pollution could harm the tourism industry around Lake Bunyonyi. Activities such as bird watching, nature walks, swimming, canoeing, boat riding, zip-lining, and enjoying the scenic views could all be affected.
To address these concerns, Evas Asiimwe, the Kabale District wetlands officer, plans to invite all investors around Lake Bunyonyi for a dialogue on how to combat pollution. Pollution issues extend beyond car washing, with some traders at weekly markets and poor farming methods contributing to the problem.
Steven Ampeire Kasyaba, the Rubanda District chairperson, has initiated an assessment of the environmental effects of washing bays around the lake. Jane Amumpaire, the Rubanda District Natural Resources Officer, emphasized the importance of controlling car wash runoff to prevent water pollution and protect aquatic ecosystems.
While the Rubanda District Council passed environmental protection bye-laws last May, enforcing these laws remains a challenge due to underfunding of the natural resources department. Strict controls are needed to safeguard water quality and Lake Bunyonyi’s unique ecosystem.