Wetlands conquer a major part of our ecosystem. It is itself is an ecosystem. With its various importance's, there are certain threats. Man-made modern threats and ecological threats.
The story of Water Hyacinth’s origin in the country begins in the 18th century when Lady Hastings, wife of Lord Warren Hastings, the first governor-general of India, bought water hyacinth to India (a species native to the Amazon Basin, in South America) as a gift to India due to the flower’s dazzling look and was considered as an ornamental plant.
How did an ornamental plant become an ecological waste?
The water hyacinth surely adds color and freshness to dirty muddy village ponds. But in reality, its beauty is only surface deep. Today, it is popularly known as “Bengal terror” & “German weed” (just like the quick fall and rise of Germany),
Now water hyacinth is a weed, a parasite that can duplicate itself every nine days. Due to its fast growing nature, the weed quickly spread across most of the wetlands in India.
Lotus which was a key species of India was suppressed by water hyacinth due to which we see very few Lotus today in wetlands. There is suppression towards native species which has led to disappearances in our cultural and national identity.
Apart from suppressing, it hosts a variety of problems.
It covers the surface layer of the water body and blocks sunlight from entering automatically degrading aquatic life.
Aquatic animals and plants die due to lack of oxygen as water hyacinth releases an excessive amount of Co2 and also methane.
It clogs waterways and chokes village ponds. It affects irrigation directly.
Breeding ground for diseases caused by mosquitoes.
Dead hyacinth piles up on the ground level and reduces the level of water in the bodies.
Makes it hard for the fishermen to navigate from one place to another besides drastic reduction in fish production.
Turning the Waste into Value
Numerous efforts have been made to clean and destroy but none have worked out. So, instead of destroying the species which is a biological waste, can it be utilized for the good of the environment?
As we all are already well versed with the importance of paper in our everyday life and the humongous amount of trees which are cut down every year to produce it.
At the very same time, the discarded paper if not sent for recycling makes up roughly 26% of solid waste.