Factors influencing conservation of Lake Victoria beaches in Kisumu East District-Kisumu county
In recent times, it has been increasingly acknowledged that healthy ecosystems and biodiversity are extremely critical to vital functioning of communities living around Lake Victoria especially the 1600 beaches (fish landing sites) that dot its shoreline. Significantly, healthy ecosystems provide a myriad of economic, socio- cultural and ecological benefits as well as goods and services that underpin various industries and by extension, the human wellbeing. This notwithstanding, Lake Victoria as a natural resource has faced degradation in recent times. Similarly, rapid degradation of ecological forest and biodiversity has exacerbated poverty in the shores of the lake with an estimated 50 per cent of the local population living below the poverty line. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to investigate factors influencing conservation of Lake Victoria Beaches in Kisumu East District and establish the factors that greatly influence the conservation of Lake Victoria beaches in Kisumu East District to enable intensive conservation of the same. The study was localized at Lwang'ni, Kichinjio, Dunga and Usoma Beaches around Kisumu city because these communities border Lake Victoria and their livelihood is dependent on this Lake. The study was guided by the cultural theory of Thompson et al which aimed at giving a description of the relationship between natural and human systems both at individual and society levels. The study adopted a descriptive survey design and both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to collect and analyze data to establish major factors influencing the conservation of beaches in Kisumu East District. This design was useful in capturing past experiences to inform the current state of affairs. The study had a target population of 3000 people either living or visiting the studied beaches. The study used the sample of Krejce and Morgan (1970) where a sample 'of 341 is considered appropriate for a population of 3000. Due to projected questionnaire return failure the researcher decided to sample more respondents of 360 to cushion this eventuality. The study got the proportionate sample of various target groups by dividing the group sample by the target population and then multiplying the outcome with the study sample size. The collected data was coded and entered through Access 2007 to create a database for easier analysis. The study used Statistical Analysis software (SAS) for quantitative analysis because it was easier to code and provided a highly summarized and user friendly data output. Frequencies and percentages were arrived at after the analysis. Based on the objectives of the study and from the 359 questionnaires distributed, it was established that fishing is the economic factor that mostly affects the conservation of lake Victoria beaches at 57.94%. The respondents rated education as one of the socio cultural practices that to a large extent impacts on beach conservation at 34.26%. The factor rated as having none effect is religion at 28.13%. 56.04% felt that the government and NGO agencies had succeeded in Lake Victoria beach conservation to a moderate extent. Observation was also used to beef up the quantitative findings of the study. Fishing activities, waste disposal mechanisms and intervention by Government agencies were established by this study as the main factors influencing the conservation of Lake Victoria beaches in Kisumu East District and thus the study recommended that environmental education should be given to both beach residents and visitors with a deliberate bias on the youth who constitute a bigger percentage of the target population.