It has become a common sight on some Rwandan lakes as a giant floating machine pushes away loads of water weeds onto the lake shores.
The most common water weed in Rwanda is the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)- a free-floating tropical American water plant.
This tropical floating aquatic plant has spikes of large blue flowers; It is troublesome in clogging waterways.
It grows rapidly to form thick mats on water surfaces, increases swamps areas, reduces water supply and undermines transport, hydroelectric power production, fisheries and fish breeding.
It can also affect human health by harbouring mosquitoes (malaria), snails (bilharzias), and snakes.
According to Rwanda Water Board, the water hyacinth has covered large sections of most of the lakes in the eastern province making them difficult to navigate.
In some case the weeds have contributed to the drying up of shallow seasonal lakes.
In an effort to better conserve water in the lakes, Rwanda Water Board has taken on the fight against water weeds with a dedicated and state-of-the-art machine.
Chemical composition of water hyacinth
Water hyacinth is composed of chemical elements; C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Zr, Cl, K, Ca, Si, Ti, and Fe revealing dominant elements, i.e., oxygen and carbon for 49.50% and 14.46%, respectively.
Disadvantages of Water hyacinth
It creates dense mats of biomass on water surface which are reducing light to submerged vegetation, can cause oxygen depletions and fish kills.
It causes imbalance in the aquatic micro-ecosystem.
Diversity of fish stocks is often affected from proliferation of water hyacinth.