Conversion of water hyacinth to fertilizer in Lagos State, Nigeria

This blog has published numerous comments and discussions on the problem of water hyacinth from several countries especially the Philippines during the past year, i.e. 2014. Thus, as I came across the news on January 2, 2015 that the Lagos State Government has decided to look into using ‘some private contractors, alongside the State’s Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) for the water hyacinth conversion project’ I was delighted to revisit the subject especially since its conversion into fertilizer is currently being considered in Nigeria.

The literature on water hyacinth is rich in how this invasive water plant can be used for socioeconomic good. Several attempts have been made towards using water hyacinth for fertilizer and mulching. Abdalla , et al. (1969) concluded that the use of this plant as mulch is effective in controlling cyperus rotundus and also in substantially conserving soil moisture. Furthermore, there has been publications on the following: a ‘method of converting aquatic plants, especially water hyacinth into useful products’; ‘Using water hyacinth as green manure and as compost; ‘water hyacinth control and possible uses’ by Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) which provides Practical Answers to Poverty in its Technical Brief; ‘…Studying the multiple usage of water hyacinth (Gourab Gosh/Soumen Purkit; and ‘Ecological and socio-economic utilization of water hyacinth …(N Jafari, 2010).

In essence Lagos State Government (LASG) is not trying to re-invent the wheel, and that it is considering converting this invasive weed into fertilizer and paper is commendable. However, Mr. Alex Omorodion should provide the people of Lagos with some form of time line when its government would commence work on this project.

This blog wishes to congratulate LASG on this triple-headed move which will improve environmental sanitation (reduction in the space available for mosquitoes to breed, production of fertilizers and helping the country to conserve foreign exchange through the production of paper).

Below is the copy of NAN release as carried in the PUNCH of January 2, 2015.

Comments by DEPO ADENLE.

LASG to start conversion of water plant to fertiliser
JANUARY 2, 2015 BY NAN

The Lagos State Public Advice Centre said the state government would soon start the conversion of water hyacinth into fertiliser for farmers.

An official of the centre, Mr Alex Omorodion, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that most of the water hyacinth would be used for the benefit of the people.

He said that the Lagos State Government would employ some private contractors, alongside the Lagos Waste Management Authority for the water hyacinth conversion project.

“Water hyacinth is a natural phenomenon that occurs anywhere you have a large or medium scale water body.
“Lagos State is addressing this issue by engaging contractors, alongside LAWMA, who would clear the hyacinth from the waterways.
“Instead of just throwing them away, however, LASG is looking into ways to convert the hyacinth into fertiliser and papers.”

The PAC official said hyacinth breed mosquitoes which had been of great health challenge to the state.
“The natural phenomenon is that there is no way the breeding of these insects can be stopped but it can only be controlled or minimised,” he said. Omorodion added that the state government would continue to make the control of mosquitoes its priority.

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