Collector V. Vishnu launched an innovative programme of converting the water hyacinth, a waterweed with alluring flowers but causing huge water loss while clogging the river and the channels to obstruct free flow of water to the ranches, into useful products including paper here on Wednesday.
This venture, launched under the ‘Nellai Neervalam’ (Tirunelveli Water Resources) programme meant for rejuvenating and revitalizing the water bodies and irrigation channels of the district, was introduced at C.R. Colony under Kodaganallur village panchayat. This project is expected to provide sustainable solution to the problems being caused by the water hyacinth.
The plant that entered India during British regime towards the end of 18th century as an ornamental plant has become a headache for the farmers as it chokes the water bodies as it grows rapidly while seriously affecting the water quality by not producing oxygen.
According to Mr. Vishnu, the farming community is facing lot problems due to the uncontrollable growth of water hyacinth in the Tamirabharani, associated irrigation tanks and the channels, where its wild growth clogs the free flow of water to the intended areas while causing huge loss of water. Since the district administration has already launched the ‘Nellai Neervalam’ scheme with the participation of the public, volunteers and the non-governmental organizations to rejuvenate the hitherto uncared for water bodies and irrigation channels, mitigating water hyacinth menace has also been put in place as part of it.
“Since we’ve successfully cleaned the tanks at V.M. Chathram, Udaiyaarpatti, Moolikulam, Thamaraikulam and Pettai Periyakulam under ‘Nellai Neervalam’, we’ve proposed to extend it to neutralize the problems being posed by water hyacinth also,” said Mr. Vishnu.
As per this plan, the water hyacinth removed from the water bodies, which would usually be trashed and sent to the garbage yard, will now be sent to the ‘recycling centre’ at C.R. Colony, where it will be converted into manure, paper and handicrafts by trained people.
“We’ve installed three machines for crushing water hyacinth into pulp for making paper from which these products will be prepared. Since we’ve trained women self-help members and the unemployed youth from Nadukkallur and Kodaganallur, they are planning to convert 15,000 tonnes of water hyacinth in a year. Besides negating the ill-effects of water hyacinth, this venture will give the waterweed, which is cursed for its undesirable qualities, a new face of providing livelihood to a group of people,” Mr. Vishnu said.
Project Director, District Rural Development Agency A. Palani, Project Director, Mahalir Thittam, Shanthi and others were present.