Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Thursday, August 18, 2022

Water hyacinth choking Pichhola Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Udaipur: Often referred to as the 'weed from hell', water hyacinth and its unwise disposal at the lake shore is choking Pichhola Lake and is feared to affect the long-term water availability here. Pichhola, a major drinking water source for the residents, is largely invaded by the nasty weed which can be seen free-floating on the lake surface with an explosive growth rate.

 

 

It has taken the form of impenetrable mats boosting the mosquito population and depleting the dissolved oxygen in water further suffocating fish and threatening the aquatic life, warn environmentalists.

 

 

For over two decades now, local bodies have been engaged in de-weeding operations to free the lakes from these weeds also known as 'Jal Kumbhi' in the local language. But the results haven't been encouraging. "Water Hyacinth or 'Samudra Sokh' is believed to have a capacity to absorb even an ocean. It is the most troublesome plant known for its ability to lose water rapidly through transpiration by leaves. In fresh water resources, it can lose 400 to 500% more water than normal evaporation," says retired professor B M Sharma, who has a vast experience of research on these plants in USA, Africa and India.

 

 

"The municipal nullas are mainly responsible for the growth of aquatic weeds which are pouring 40-50 MLD (mega liters per day) sewage daily to the lakes and loading excess amount of nutrients," said a retired professor and activist Mahesh Sharma.

 

 

The situation has worsened in past three years when the heavy de-weeding machine was introduced in the lakes. The machine consumes 9 litres of diesel per hour and works for 8 hours plucking out the weeds and carrying it to the lake shores everyday. However, the careless disposal of the weeds is leading to its rapid growth. The weeds collected by the de-weeding machine dumped carelessly on the north side of the lake gets accumulated each year and comes back in the water body with the monsoon rains, thus acting as a fertilizer for its multiplication.

 

 

"Only manually ridden, solar or battery powered boats is allowed on drinking water bodies but here the de-weeding machine is polluting the lake waters for doing no good," Sharma claimed. While authorities in Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh have opted Rajasthan model of manual de-weeding, we are embarking on the wrong path as the municipality is contemplating on procuring two more de-weeding machines worth crores of rupees, the activist opined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: The Times of India