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Protecting the Lake: water hyacinth removal

31 January 2022 Mariska Braam

Water hyacinth is an invasive species in Ethiopia. The presence of this non-indigenous water hyacinth is a growing concern for many lakes around the world. It is an aquatic plant that can live and reproduce on the surface of fresh waters or can be anchored in mud. Plant size ranges from a few inches to a meter in height. Its rate of proliferation under certain circumstances is extremely rapid and it can spread to cause infestations over large areas of water causing a variety of problems. It grows in mats which can reduce light and oxygen, change water chemistry, and affect flora and fauna. It also causes practical problems for marine transportation, fishing and at intakes for hydro power and irrigation schemes.

In Ziway the problem is addressed in two ways. Firstly, by physically removing the water hyacinth from the lake and shores. Large groups of Sher-employees team up to remove the plant from the water, and secondly by planting trees in the upper catchment area, as deforestation, erosion, and the washing of sediment into the lake is the root cause of this problem. Over the last few years, we have planted over 800.000 trees in the upper catchment area, and we will continue planting with our partners IDH and Fair and Sustainable. We would like to thank our employees for taking on these challenging tasks.