Jul 06, 2022


by: Paul Benson


Categories: News

How a radio series about Lake Victoria’s troubles missed the mark

A radio series about the ecological crisis facing Lake Victoria was meant to be a wake-up call. But it failed to capture the scale of the problems, or the potential solutions.

Lake Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake, and home to over 30 million people. It’s also in trouble.

Overfishing, pollution and invasive species are just some of the threats facing the lake. And these problems are only getting worse as the population continues to grow.

In 2016, the BBC World Service commissioned a series of radio programmes about the crisis facing Lake Victoria. The series, called ‘The Rift’, was meant to be a wake-up call about the state of the lake and the need for urgent action.

But while the series did a good job of highlighting some of the problems, it failed to capture the scale of the crisis, or the potential solutions.

For example, the series didn’t mention that overfishing is one of the biggest threats to the lake. It’s estimated that up to 90% of the fish in Lake Victoria are caught illegally. And this illegal fishing is having a devastating impact on both the fish stocks and the people who rely on them for their livelihoods.

The series also failed to mention that pollution from agriculture is another major problem facing the lake. Agriculture is the main source of income for many people living around Lake Victoria. But it’s also a major source of pollution, with pesticides and fertilisers polluting the water and soil.

And while the series did mention the problem of invasive species, it didn’t mention that this is a problem that’s being made worse by climate change. Warmer water temperatures are making it easier for invasive species to survive and spread in Lake Victoria.

The series did highlight some potential solutions to the problems facing the lake. But it failed to capture the scale of the crisis, or the potential solutions. As a result, the series missed an opportunity to create a real sense of urgency about the need for action.