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Introduction

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating perennial

aquatic plant, native to South America. Its rapid growth obstructs

waterways such as rivers, lakes, and streams presenting appalling

environmental hazards. If uncontrolled, water hyacinth will immerse lakes

and ponds slowing water flow, blocking sunlight from reaching other

microflora in the aquatic ecosystem, and killing fishes and other aquatic

species due to oxygen depletion. It is additionally a prime habitat for

mosquitos, common carrier of diseases, and a species of snail known to

host parasitic flatworm which causes schistosomiasis or snail fever. (De

Leon, 2011)

The Philippine Waters has been severely infested by the water

hyacinth with its rapid rate of generation. It is considered to be the most

damaging aquatic plant worldwide because of its capability to reproduce

at an extraordinary rate, thereby clogging lakes and rivers. It grows in mats

up to two meters wide which can reduce light and oxygen, change water

chemistry, and affect local flora and fauna. In Laguna de Bay, it covers

about 20% of the lake’s surface area. This is because of the water’s high

sewage concentrations.
The plant yields about 657 tons of dry matter per hectare a year.

(Environmental Impact: Solving the Water Hyacinth Infestation Problem

in the Philippines, 2018).

Water hyacinth has been widely introduced in North America,

Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. In numerous regions it

has turned into an important and noxious invasive species. It is listed on

the National Pest Plant Accord in New Zealand which prevents it from

being propagated, disseminated or sold. In huge water zones such as

Louisiana, the Kerala Backwaters in India, Tonlé Sap in Cambodia and

Lake Victoria it has turned into a serious pest. The common water hyacinth

has become an obtrusive plant species on Lake Victoria in Africa after it

was introduced into the area in the 1980s. (Chepkoech, 2016).

When not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds

entirely; this dramatically affects water flow and blocks sunlight from

reaching native aquatic plants which often die. The decay processes

deplete dissolved oxygen in the water, often killing fish (or turtles).

Directly blamed for starving subsistence farmers in Papua New Guinea,

water hyacinth remains a major problem where effective control programs

are not in place.


Water hyacinth is often problematic in man-made ponds if

uncontrolled, but can also provide a food source for goldfish, keep water

clean and help to provide oxygen. (Hanson, 2013).

Industries are widely using plant fibers for numerous applications

from many resources. In the middle of 20th century, synthetic fibers rose

up drastically, and natural fibers industries collapse its market shares. For

promoting natural fiber and material, year 2009 is considered as

international year of natural fiber (IYNF), which is highly supportive to

famers, agriculture, environment, and market demands. Composite market

of United States has been recorded 2.7–2.8 billion pounds from 2006 to

2007. On the basis of compound annual growth rate of 3.3%, it is estimated

to cross over 3.3 billion pounds. In 2009, Thailand produces 1.894 million

tonnes, the Philippines produced 2.198 million tonnes, and Brazil

produced only 1.43 million tonnes. In 2001 the production of Costa Rica,

Cote d’lvoire, and Philippines were 322,000 tonnes, 188,000 tonnes, and

135000 tonnes, respectively. The most important property of natural fibre

is biodegradability and noncarcinogenic which bring it back into fashion,

with an advantage of being cost-effective. (Asim, 2015).