The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Paul Martin and Amanda Kennedy
Chapter 8: Fouling Adam’s Eden: a legal analysis of the collective action challenge in Lake Victoria
Omondi Robert Owino* 1. INTRODUCTION Regrettably, Lake Victoria is today seriously threatened due to receding water levels, soil and waste pollution, over-fishing, and a growing decline in the health of its ecosystems. As a result, the livelihoods and well-being of over 30 million people who live around its basin are at risk. It is imperative that we act urgently and decisively to halt further decline of the lake and the surrounding environment.1 Lake Victoria2 is an indispensable shared resource in the East African Community (EAC)3 and its basin is one of the most densely populated * Doctoral Candidate Department of Public Law, International and European Law, Faculty of Law, Bayreuth University (Germany), LL.M (Dar es Salaam), LL.B (Hons) (Moi), Dip (KSL), Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. 1 Kibaki (2007). 2 Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa by area and also the largest tropical lake in the world. It is also the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area coming second only to Lake Superior in North America. Lake Victoria boasts a surface area of about 68,000 km2 shared by Kenya (6%); Uganda – (45%) and Tanzania (49%) with a shoreline that extends up to about 3,500 km and an average depth of about 40 m and a maximum depth of 80 m. The Lake lies between latitude 0.7°´N – 3°´S and longitude 31.8°´E – 34.8°´E on a catchment area of about 193,000 km2 that includes Burundi (7.2%); Kenya (21.5%); Rwanda (11.4%)...
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