BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) --
Lake Tanganyika, the second
oldest freshwater lake in the world, faces issues of
degradation and acute pollution on Burundi’s side,
former Burundian environment minister Albert Mbonerane
degradation has started to impact on current generations
and will seriously affect future generations if
appropriate measures are not taken, Mbonerane, who is
also a founding member of a local environmental
protection NGO, told Xinhua in an interview Wednesday.
The lake faces significant decrease in water levels, he
Tanganyika, bordered by Tanzania, Zambia, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Burundi, is the world’s second
largest freshwater lake by volume and the second deepest
lake with over 350 species of fish. Millions of people
live near the lake and depend on it for drinking water
and for food.
also faces “acute pollution” on the side of Burundi,
which has 8 percent of the total area of Lake
Tanganyika, said Mbonerane.
solid and liquid wastes are sent into the lake and this
jeopardizes the biodiversity of the lake as well as the
water we drink,” he said.
He said the
wastes from households and factories are driven into the
lake directly or via rivers crossing the capital city of
Bujumbura, adding that the untreated wastes going into
the lake will force the fish to flee their habitat and
will reduce fish’s quality as food and for sale.
of the water drunk by Bujumbura residents will also be
affected and their health will be affected, Mbonerane
him, the “polluter pays” principle provided in the
Burundian water code is not implemented to sanction
urged the authorities to take urgent action to save the
called for officials from the four riparian countries of
Lake Tanganyika to meet and seek ways of protecting the
lake “which is very important for future generations.”
advised the government to create a ministry in charge of
issues of Lake Tanganyika to prioritize its protection.