In 2021, to celebrate World Ocean Day, InfoNile hosted the first Science Communication Competition for University students with the theme: Plastic Pollution in Lake Victoria.
The competition shortlisted 7 candidates from Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Gambia who produced different multimedia including a documentary, blog, rap video, podcast, research paper, communicating scientific results on the status of plastic pollution in Lake Victoria and the impact on the environment and the livelihoods of the people who depend on the shared resource.
Pa Seedy Jammeh from the University of the Gambia produced the podcast below and emerged the winner of the InfoNile Science Communication Competition 2021. The judges, who comprised top journalists and scientists in the Nile Basin, accrediting him for his ability to report on the science behind the plastic menace.
“I believe that anything to do with our environment is related to our health and should be well addressed. Ending plastic pollution should be our first priority,” Pa Seedy.
The Plastic Menace in Lake Victoria
Podcast By Pa Seedy Jammeh and Omar Cham
What stood out most for you as you participated in InfoNile’s Science Communication Competition 2021?
Pa Seedy Jammeh and Omar Cham: We understood and noted that local communities in East Africa continue to face numerous challenges because of plastic pollution in Lake Victoria. Plastic pollution negatively affects the environment for humans and biodiversity. The number of fish in Lake Victoria has also gone down, thus affecting fishermen.
Why is there need to address plastic pollution?
Pa Seedy Jammeh and Omar Cham: It is high time we put an end to environmental pollution, more especially plastic pollution in Lake Victoria. According to the research we studied, many aquatic organisms are suffocating as a result of people dumping plastic carelessly and ending up in the water bodies like Lake Victoria.
We also found that plastic is carcinogenic and can cause serious damage to the respiratory organisms of aquatic life and also pose a health risk to human beings.
How does this pollution affect you?
Pa Seedy Jammeh; In the end, we are harming ourselves because this aquatic life constitutes planktons that produce the oxygen we all need.
Omar Cham; Planet Earth is not created for humans alone; rather for every bit of its inhabitants. Let us say no to plastic pollution. Let us fight against pollution. Let us save Lake Victoria, let us save Planet Earth, as it’s the only planet we can live in.
Men removing plastic battles from River Rwizi Uganda which flows into Lake Victoria. Photo by Water Journalists Africa