Effects of water hyacinth on economic activities of the Community around Lake Victoria: a case of dung a beach in Kisumu-Kenya
Fresh water bodies constitute a vital component of a wide variety of living environments as integral water resource base in many human societies in the world. Water hyacinth has invaded freshwater systems in over 50 countries on five continents and changes to its density have the potential to affect other ecological and human communities in areas where it is established either positively or negatively. The hyacinth, since its introduction in Kenya has been a menace to the riparian communities, causing several problems. However, the range of problems with water hyacinth infestation is in general terms widely known, the real extent of the influence on the socioeconomic status and welfare of the people who depend on the affected water has not been well quantified and documented. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of water hyacinth on the economic activities of the community around Lake Victoria and focused on Dunga beach in Kisumu. The study sought to establish the extent to which the water hyacinth affects the water business, fishing industry, weaving industry and tourism activities of the target community. Utilizing the descriptive survey research design, the study targeted the 8,561 households in Nyallenda B Sub location which covers the entire Dunga beach. The study used a sample size of 331 households. The study area was zoned into 4 village clusters and simple random sampling used to proportionately select the study's sample size based on the number of households in each village cluster. Data collection instruments included the household questionnaire for the community members and the key informant interview guide. The questionnaire was validated through review by the supervisor and research experts from the University of Nairobi then pilot-tested on sample of 10 respondents drawn from Usoma beach with similar characteristics as Dunga beach. The reliability of the questionnaire was determined using the Cronbanch alpha coefficient, producing a reliability coefficient of a = 0.82. The data collected using the household questionnaire was cleaned, coded and entered into the computer and analyzed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Scientists. Descriptive data was analyzed using percentages, frequencies and means and the results presented in frequency distribution tables. Correlation analysis using the Pearson's Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was also done to determine the relationships between the dependent and independent variables. The study established that 70% of the respondents agreed that the volume of water extracted from the lake available for sale was higher when the lake was clear of hyacinth compared to the seasons when the lake was fully covered by the hyacinth. More water was therefore extracted in the months of March to August when the lake was clear of hyacinth. The study also established that the means in the number of the fish quantities varied from one type of fish to the other at different times of the year due to different water hyacinth infestation level. The mean for tilapia fish was highest in the months of May-June at 1.55, followed closely by a mean of 1.44 in the months of March-April, while the lowest was in the months of July- August. The means for cat fish and mud fish were highest in the months of March-April and November to December and the lowest means observed in the months of May - June. The study also established that that the water hyacinth was harvested and used as raw material to make items that included baskets, cupboards, tablemats, seats, handbags, earrings, bangles, necklaces, trays, chairs and coffins. It was established that the highest number of tourist visitations were in the months of May-June when the level of water hyacinth infestation was low. The study concluded that the water hyacinth had varied and mixed affects on the economic activities of the riparian communities at Dunga beach and thus recommended that the multiple effects of the water hyacinth must be considered whenever efforts to control the water hyacinth are instituted. However, similar studies should be conducted on other beaches especially around Homabay to validate the findings of this study and allow generalization of the study's findings on a wider scope.