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Water Hyacinth: A Blessing Not a Curse
Water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to tropical and sub- tropical South America. With broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves, which may rise above the surface of the water as much as 1 meter in height or 3 feet.

Aquatic plants scientists call water hyacinth the worst aquatic plant in the world! The plant causes serious social, economic and environmental problems including ecological imbalance in lakes resulting in choking of fish life and native aquatic plants.

Although growth rate of water hyacinths can be a nightmare, people have put the weed to good use after finding out it has phytoremediation properties as it can soak up soluble heavy metal ions and cyanide in polluted waters.

The water hyacinth plant also has abundant nitrogen content and it has been harvested and used a substrate for biogas production.

The first person to recognize the full potential of water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) is the brilliant agricultural scientist Sir Albert Howard, founder of the organic farming movement, while working in India in the 1920s.

He found it to be very efficient in purifying sewage effluent. He also found that an acre of water hyacinth could remove 2.4 tons of ammonium sulphate (nitrogen fertilizer) in one hour, and phosphorus just as efficiently.



 
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