17 December 2012

Kenya: Manual Removal of Hyacinth Will Create Jobs - Lawmaker

KISUMU Town East MP Shakeel Shabbir has opposed the mechanical removal of the water hyacinth choking Lake Victoria.

The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project II has said it will use mechanical harvesting and biological control in the removal of the weed.

Shabbir said the hyacinth should be removed through a manual process, "because it will create employment opportunities to the youth".

He said the mechanical removal of the hyacinth is prone to make the weed multiply at a higher rate because it does not pull out the hyacinth from the roots.

His sentiments were supported by fishermen and Kisumu residents through their chairman Audi Ogada.

Ogada said the manual removal of the hyacinth has proved effective in Uganda and Tanzania while the mechanical process has been unsuccessful in Kenya before.

"There is need for the locals engagement in the removal of the weed and we believe with the mechanical processes, our people will not have an opportunity to participate in the works," Ogada added.

LVEMP II national project coordinator Francisca Owuor said: "Manual removal can be used at a later stage after the level of infestation has been significantly reduced," she added. Water hyacinth has chocked Lake Victoria for several months.

Speaking at a special media briefing on Lake Victoria Basin Commission at a Kakamega Hotel, LVEMP II regional coordinator Raymond Mngodo said removing the weed manually is not sustainable but research is being done to find a lasting solution.

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