• Short Summary

    One of the world's largest flamingo colonies is threatened with pollution. It's at Lake Nakuru--80?

  • Description

    One of the world's largest flamingo colonies is threatened with pollution. It's at Lake Nakuru--80 miles (128 kms) north of Nairobi in Kenya.

    The lake is the Rome of millions of flamingos as well as other birdlife including pelicans and storks.

    The pollution threat comes from the nearby town of Nakuru, already the home of 150-thousand people and expected to have a quarter-of-a-million residents by the and of the century.

    The town's main rubbish tip lies only a few hundred yards from the lake shore and is a major source of contamination. In addition sewage from Nakuru is pumped directly into the lake at a rate of about 767,000 gallons (3,4000,000 litres) a day. The sewage is treated bacteriologically before being discharged, but the system is unable to break down the detergents, oil and insecticides which pose the chief threat to wild life around the lake.

    Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, President of the World Wildlife Fund, has asked President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya to move the boundaries of the national park much further back from the lake shore. If this is not done, he says, Lake Nakuru's survival as the most magnificent bird spectacle in the world cannot be assured.

    SYNOPSIS: Lake Nakuru in Kenya is unique among the world's great wildlife reserves. It is the home of millions of aquatic birds--mainly flamingos. Now, these birds face a threat to their existence. It comes from pollution-- partly from a large rubbish tip located only a few hundred yards from the lake shore. It's the main tip for the town of Nakuru--population: one hundred and fifty thousand.

    All the sewage in Nakuru also goes into the lake, at a rate of seven hundred and sixty seven thousand gallons a day. Statisticians predict Nakuru's population will rise by a further hundred thousand in the next twenty-five years. The sewage is treated before discharge--but detergents, oil and insecticides got through. For the bird life at Nakuru, the situation is becoming steadily worse. The lake has no outlet and there is a tendency for the poisons to accumulate. Already the contamination is taking its toll.

    Scientists like Mr. John hopcraft keep a constant watch on the level of pollution in the lake. Their reports have led the president of the World Wildlife Fund, Prince Bernhard, to appeal to Kenya's President Kenyatta to move back the boundaries of the National park to ensure the land around the lake is also treated as protected land. Mr. Mopcraft is an ornithologist, and after weighing the dead birds he carries out a through post-mortem examination to discover which poisons have been responsible for their death.

    Checking pollution in the lake water are Dr. Ekkehard Vareschi and his wife from Munich. They are working with an independent non-profit making organisation dedicated to protecting bird life at Nakuru. The couple make regular checks from their rubber boar--and in eight months work have kept a record which points to a steady increase in the level of contamination. Each sample has an individually labelled jar--which goes to a laboratory for analysis. A report on Lake Nakuru sees an urgent need for action to deal with sewage effluent, the rubbish tip, storm drains and industrial waste. Unless action is taken the future of the huge flamingo colony will remain in doubt. It could mean a decline in what Prince Bernhard describes as "the most magnificent bird spectacle in the world."

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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