Ever since I read in the prints social media that N2.5b was budgeted for Water Hyacinth and the said amount was later pushed to a whooping N65b, I have been asking so many questions : ‘like what is Water Hyacinth and the negative effect on Niger Delta soil,waterways and the air?’
I have searched and researched and have come to the understanding that the common name of this weed is known as “million dollar weed” (a little wonder why our NDDC (Niger Delta Development Commission) spent 2.5b on it). I have tried to know the mode of controls of this weed in the environment and the environmental hazard.The mode of control or eradication are manual, biological, physical and chemical methods.
To eradicate or control water hyacinth, physical, chemical, and biological methods are widely applied throughout the world. The physical method is employed by directly harvesting, cutting, and removing the plant using machines or manually removing by hands and hand tools.
Chemical method, on the other hand (herbicides and pesticides), which is either conventional or nonconventional, can be applied directly or indirectly on the infested areas to eradicate or reduce the growth of the weed.
Biological methods involve applying arthropods and pathogens on theinfested areas. Arthropods feed on the leaves of water hyacinth but pathogens make the plant infected by disease and finally would be decomposed by bacterial actions.The most common and effective arthropods are weevils, pathogens, bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
Although the most advisable are preventive control methods, application of integrated control methods is advised.
At the end of it all, I now arrived at these questions:
(1) If water hyacinth grows mostly on the Lake; do we really have lakes in Niger Delta States?
(2) If the aforementioned methods of eradication and controls are as simple as stated above, how come our regional agency, the NDDC, spent 2.5b just to eradicate this weed from where it doesn’t exist? I know of a weed called Nipal palm and it’s effect on the water and aquatic animals, if our leaders spent N2.5b or N65b, as the case may be, on Water Hyacinth, how much will they spend on “Nipal” palm?
It is high time all well-meaning Niger Deltans arose and beam excoriating searchlights, with the view to ensuring that palliative funds meant for the dying populace who have been plagued by the murderous oil exploitation and exploration activities, are not inhumanly embezzled by a few, using unexisting subheads!
©Uwem Bassey with contributions from Comrade Ime Silas