Harvesting Green Gold


The Water Hyacinth thrives in natural waterways. It is an invasive aquatic plant that most want to eradicate. It is considered a pest because it forms thick green mats, infesting rivers and depleting the water’s supply of oxygen to fish and other aquatic life, ultimately harming marine life and depleting biodiversity. The government spends millions annually to remove the noxious weed from waterways to prevent the added flood risks during the rainy season. One of the fastest-growing plants known; water hyacinths can double populations in two weeks. This tropical flora can be used for making fertiliser, bioethanol, as bulk for animal feed etc. More interestingly, the fibre from the water hyacinth plant can also be used to manufacture textiles and paper.

The plant grows abundantly and is able to double its buds in two weeks. It doesn't require land to grow, its bulbs and petals can be eaten, it can be used for bulk for animal feed and it is already being used to produce biofuel on a small scale by a Kenyan chemistry teacher.

As part of my research, I am looking into the production of bricks reinforced with water hyacinth fibres. In addition to this practical research, fibres from the water hyacinth plant can be used for furniture manufacture, textiles, paper. Weaving could be used for the roofing of the pavilion areas of the forest altars in The [Dis]Honourable Harvest project.