Floating trash collectors sourced by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have achieved considerable success in removal of water hyacinth weed in city’s lakes.
Of the 59 lakes identified by the Entomology wing for removal of the weed, 36 have been completely cleared of it. Officials say that the government intends to take up sewage diversion and beautification of the lakes which are clear of the invasive species.
Rampant growth of water hyacinth in city’s lakes, drains and Musi river is one major source of mosquito menace in several localities of the city, as the weed is a rich breeding ground of the larvae.
Till a few years ago, Entomology workers would wade through the thick growth of the weed to spray larvicidal chemical, exposing themselves to various health hazards. Crores of rupees would be spent on removal of the plant from the lakes, but with little success.
The weed, flourishing from release of sewage into the lakes through the storm water drains, sets off the process of eutrophication and chokes the lakes of life. Owing to this scourge, lakes lost their water holding capacity, leading to major disasters during floods of 2020, like in Chandrayangutta where Palle Cheruvu topped over the bund and inundated the colonies downstream killing many.
Vexed with lack of response for tenders for water hyacinth removal, GHMC has spent about ₹10 crore for procuring six floating trash collectors and placed them one per zone under the zonal commissioners.
“We spray herbicide through drones where the weed is thick, so that it dries and becomes manageable in terms of weight. Floating trash collectors work when the weed is in water. Wherever it is in swamp like territory, we are using excavator machines,” said Chief Entomologist A. Rambabu.
The lakes de-weeded include Errakunta (Kapra), HMT Lake (Kapra), Ramanthapur Pedda Cheruvu, Nagole Lake, Kummari Kunta, Mansurabad Pedda Cheruvu, Surram Cheruvu, Bam Rukn Ud Daula Lake, Talla Kunta Lake, Palle Cheruvu, Malkam Cheruvu, HUDA Lake (Karwan), Katora Houz Lake, JVR Park pond, Taj Banjara Lake, Kotha Cheruvu (Jubilee Hills), Gopi Cheruvu, Pedda Kudi Cheruvu, Gurunath Cheruvu, Bachu Kunta, Kaidamma Kunta, Thammidi Kunta, Prakash Nagar Lake, Bandelaguda Cheruvu, Mundla Katwa, IDL Cheruvu, Amber Cheruvu, Hasmatpet Cheruvu, Ali Talab, Parki Cheruvu, Yellamma Cheruvu, Vennalagadda Lake, HMT Lake (Gajularamaram), Kotha Kunta, Kotha Cheruvu (Alwal), and Chinarayuni Cheruvu.
Shah Hatim Talab, the 40 acres of which had been totally covered in the weed, is now free in 38.5 acres.
However, several other lakes very large extents of which are covered in the weed, are yet to be touched. Miralam Tank of 380 acres, of which about 200 acres are covered by the weed, is a case in point.
Similar is the status of Nalla Cheruvu in Uppal, Raisamudram Lake in Ramachandrapuram, Kamuni Cheruvu and Mysamma Cheruvu in Moosapet, among others.
Officials give assurance that all the lakes will eventually be freed of the weed, after which sewage diversion works will follow, to arrest the scourge.