Authored by Brad Czerniak

Luzira Wetland (the lower part of Nakivubo Swamp) is a mixed papyrus-miscanthus swamp that is part of the greater network of wetlands in the Lake Victoria Basin. Although not a designated site of international importance under The Ramsar Convention, the wetland has been proposed for protection as a conservation area because of its water purification role. The wetland constitutes a critical buffer zone between the run-off from Kampala City and Lake Victoria the biggest water body in Africa. Of the total run-off from industries and domestic sources in Kampala City, only 12% is treated and the rest is discharged untreated into Nakivubo Channel draining into Luzira Wetland before entering Lake Victoria.

Despite its importance, the wetland is under threat of degradation and gradual loss that is made worse by the dumping of domestic and industrial waste and human excreta contaminating water sources, a situation aggravated by acute lack of sanitation facilities and effluent produced daily by growing population on the edges of the wetland. Abuse of wetlands continues to be driven by encroachment for farming and housing. The loss of wetlands is steadily spreading inwards and along its edges as more businesses open up. Lack of awareness and the non-appreciation of values and functions of wetlands are two of the reasons there is widespread degradation of wetlands. Without any serious intervention, at the current rate of loss, the wetland will likely disappear within five or so years. Already, water quality in Lake Victoria is declining, indicating a loss of the critical purification functions the wetland provides. This project raised awareness and created community ownership of an important Lake Victoria wetland.