The water hyacinth crisis in Lake Naivasha went a notch higher trapping tens of local and international tourists out on holiday around Naivasha. A group journalists covering the spread of the weed were not spared either after they were also trapped in the lake for over four hours before they were rescued by fishermen. The situation for the tourists and the journalists was worsened by attacks from thousands of mosquitoes that are using the invasive weed as their breeding grounds. During the harrowing ordeal, the victims had to join the coxswain in helping maneuver through the weed that is slowly choking the troubled water body. The episode incidentally came a day after twenty fishermen in five boats were trapped in the lake for over seven hours. According to the chairman Lake Naivasha Boat Owners association David Kilo, the weed had adversely affected fishing and navigation exercises. Kilo who had accompanied the journalists said that the weed had also blocked many jetties leading to tourist hotels thus affecting tourism activities. “Boat operators are using more fuel so as to maneuver through the weed which has seen the number of mosquitoes increase to alarming levels,” he said. While calling for action on the weed, Kilo said that the invasive plant was also protecting the lake from illegal fishing. “The area under water hyacinth is inaccessible to both licensed and illegal fishing meaning that fish production will increase,” he said. A tourist from Austria Katie Moshu termed the visit to the lake as wonderful but was quick to identify the weed as a major challenge. “This is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited in our lives but the weed is making it hard for boats to maneuver,” she said.
The sentiments were echoed by a local tourist Mike Maru who termed the lake as an ideal tourist destination place. “We have enjoyed our visit around the lake apart from mosquitoes and the weed which we are told shifts from one beach to another depending on the wind,” he said. One of the journalists trapped by the weed Silas Mwiti from KBC termed the experience as harrowing adding that the wind turned against them as they covered the spread of the weed. “The weed literally surrounded the boat making it impossible for our coxswain to maneuver through but we got help four hours later after making a distress call,” said the shaken journalists.
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