Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda share Lake Victoria. It is the worlds largest tropical lake and the second largest freshwater lake. Lake Victoria touches the Equator in its northern side. It covers a total area of 68,800 sq. km [km²] and with a maximum depth of 80 m it is relatively shallow. A population of over 30 million people live in its basin.
The ecological health of Lake Victoria has been affected profoundly as a result of a rapidly growing population, clearance of natural vegetation along the shores, a booming fish-export industry, the introduction of several exotic plant and animal species, the disappearance of about 50 % of its fish species (it had 400 species of Cichlids), prolific growth of algae, and dumping of untreated effluent by several industries and human settlements. The Nile perch was introduced to the lake to improve fish stock, but now it is responsible for the extinction of many indigenous fish species. Much of the damage is vast and irreversible. Traditional lifestyles of lakeshore communities have been disrupted and are crumbling. There is a consensus among conservationists that if an accelerated push to save the lake is not made soon, this important body of water will cease to sustain life.