Updated Thursday, July 25th 2013 at 22:49 GMT +3
By JAMES OMORO
Homa Bay, Kenya: Economic activities in Lake Victoria are expected to improve following the introduction of a Sh8 million machine for the removal of water hyacinth.
The programme has been initiated by the Kenya Maritime Authority
(KMA), who hired the machine from the National Water Conservation and
Pipeline Corporation as a measure to contain the weed that has deprived
fisher folk of their livelihood.
The head of maritime safety at
KMA, Wilfred Kagimbi, said the machine will operate in the area for next
one month and three weeks but they are likely to relocate if the weed
“We are yet to determine the amount of water
hyacinth this machine can remove in a day because it has not served this
purpose before,” Kagimbi said.
The machine will not eradicate the
hyacinth from the entire lake within the stipulated time, but it is
aimed at encouraging organisations charged with the responsibility of
controlling the weed to use mechanical removal methods.
many organisations concerned with the removal of water hyacinth. We may
not be able to remove the weed from the entire lake but our main aim is
to demonstrate that mechanical removal can be successful,” Kagimbi
He added that past methods had failed.
flagging off the machine at Kamwala Beach in Rachuonyo North Sub-County,
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said operations would create job
opportunities in the area since he had liaised with a company known as
Hyaquip to buy the removed weed.
He said residents would collect
dry hyacinth and sell it to Hyaquip at a cost of Sh35 per kilogramme;
they would take home Sh25 while the county government retained Sh10.
government will co-operate with the Kenya Maritime Authority and any
other organisation concerned with eradication of the weed to enhance the
livelihood of Homa Bay residents,” Awiti said.
Hamilton Orata, expelled fears expressed by the residents that the
removed hyacinth might cause environmental degradation.
“I call upon the residents to co-operate with the company to ensure
the removed hyacinth does not pollute our environment,” Orata commented.
expressed optimism that removal of the nuisance weed would revive
transport and fishing activities, which had stalled in many parts of the
Water hyacinth has been a menace in Lake Victoria
for more than 15 years, in which time it has culminated in water
pollution and denied fishermen an opportunity to earn a living.