Water Hyacinth

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    • Recently, water hyacinth was used to make eco-friendly products, generate employment in rural West Bengal.

    Water Hyacinth

    • About:
      • Scientifically known as Eichhornia crassipes Mart. (Pontederiaceae)
      • It is an aquatic weed common in water bodies across South Asia, including India. 
      • This is not an indigenous species but was introduced to India during the British colonial rule as an ornamental aquatic plant from South America
      • The plant produces beautiful purple flowers that have high aesthetic value. 
    • Usage: 
      • The plant has been used as a bio-fertiliser in some organic agriculture practices.
      • It has been reported that this plant is a good phytoremediation species, suggesting it has the ability to trap and remove toxic metabolites and harmful heavy metals from water. 
      • But more research needs to be conducted to find suitable use for the notorious weed.

    Image Courtesy: DTE

    • Concerns:
      • It is an obnoxious weed that has been suffocating surface freshwater sources like rivers, rivulets, streams, ponds, dams, lakes and bogs.
      • It makes the water bodies unsuitable for commercial fishery, transportation and recreation.
      • It is an expensive and labour-intensive process to remove this weed from time to time. 
      • This water hyacinth has become a serious problem plant for the ecosystem. 
      • The plant is a prolific vegetable matter-producer and has the ability to choke out any closed waterbody at an astonishing rate. 
      • This cuts off sunlight as well as reduces oxygen level in the water, making it unfit for commercial use. 

    Source: DTE