Why is it a problem?
Water hyacinth has a negative impact on water transport and restricts access to ports; negatively impacting trade and food security. It also blocks water turbines used for electricity generation, hampering economic development. It provides habitats for disease vectors, including malaria. The weed also impacts fishing. Large infestations can also lead to de-oxygenation of the water which can reduce fish stocks.
- Reduces irrigation flow
- Damages fishing equipment
- Reduces fish stocks and native biodiversity
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
What’s the solution?
Studies have shown that the spread of the weed is dependent on levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water. By reducing the nutrients in the water, the growth of the plant can be slowed down. Herbicides such as 2,4-D have also proved to be effective if used under conditions of rapid growth and high humidity. In these conditions most of the plants will die and sink. However, the weed needs to be treated repeatedly in order to control it effectively.
Seven arthropods and three fungi were developed as biocontrol agents. As well as this, two Neochetina weevils have been known to reduce Water hyacinth infestation by up to 90%. Permanent control has been reported in some areas.