Making Use of Water Hyacinth and Turning It into Products of Economic Value

18 January 2018

First Overview of Water Hyacinth in the River Nile:

Along the River Nile, the main source of potable water in Egypt, there are large quantities of water hyacinth, which is considered the most dangerous type of weed affecting fresh water. The plant multiplies every eleven days, each leading to the loss of one litre of water per day. Experts have estimated wasted water as a result of the accumulation of water hyacinth in the River Nile to around 3 billion cubic annually, signifying its high absorption of large quantities of water. This amount, however, would be sufficient to plant 100,000 feddans. Other harms of water hyacinth include:

1- Its high density, which blocks sun rays from reaching the bottom of the River leading to the death of creatures and plants that produce oxygen. 

2- It consumes large quantities of oxygen dissolved in the water, which harms other creatures.

3-  It obstructs navigation and disintegrated plants precipitate in the bottom, causing water levels to rise in water channels. This requires the constant clearing of the water, which is a highly expensive process. 

4- Water hyacinth carries bilharzia, which sticks on its roots, from place to place, causing spread of the disease.

For the above reasons, it is essential to get rid of this plant that affects the country’s national security of water, either mechanically by dredgers and excavators or chemically by using extremely toxic material, which became prohibited due to its threat of the lives of living creatures and people’s health. Even the mechanical means became useless since the plant grows again, requiring the re-use of dredgers and excavators, which is economically useless since it does not represent a radical solution,

Hence, the Asian department persistently sought to benefit from Indonesian experience in this field (through the training course provided by the Indonesian government). Indonesia uses a technique to benefit from water hyacinth, converting it to products with economic return, while at the same time, they get rid of the plant that consumes large amounts of water.

The training course was given over two phases, the first on 25-27 July 2011 in Mansoura and the second in Beni Suef on 9-12 December 2015.

Overview of the Project:

- It was agreed with the Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the means of benefiting from Indonesian experience in the field of SMEs and converting water hyacinth into products. This took place on the sidelines of the fifth session of the Egyptian Indonesian Joint Committee meetings held in Jakarta in 2007 co-chaired by the Egyptian and Indonesian Ministers of International Cooperation.

- The Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and SME’s along with a delegation of experts specialized in dealing with water hyacinth visited Egypt on 1-3 July 2007. Upon visiting areas loaded with water hyacinth, it appeared to be of the same type found in Indonesia, rendering it possible to turn it into useful products as is the case in Indonesia. 

Recent Success Stories