Mr Lexzy Nwangwu, a Maritime Stakeholder and President, African Federation of Freight Forwarders (AFFF) has urged the government to be more resourceful in the management of water hyacinth in Nigeria.
Nwangwu spoke in an interview in Lagos following reports on the sudden takeover of the Ogun River by water hyacinth.
He said it was erroneous to consider the aquatic plant as nuisance in its entity in spite of several research findings of many advanced countries that had proven otherwise.
He disclosed that the plant which is more than 95 per cent water could be used in a variety of valuable ways because of its fibrous tissue, high energy and protein content.
“I am aware that some countries actually plant water hyacinths because of its benefits.
“Why should it be considered a nuisance in Nigeria when it is useful in some areas of the world?
“We can use it as fuel the same way it is done in India. Paper, fibre board, yarn and ropes, baskets, charcoal briquetting are all things we can do with water hyacinth.
“So why throw away the baby with the bad water”, Nwangwu queried.
He said rather than out rightly destroy water hyacinth because of the navigational challenges it poses, it could be harvested and sent to factories where they will be processed into finished products.
Nwangwu argued that in so doing, the society would be equipped with the necessary technologies and empower many job seekers.
He also urged government to commission studies on the uses of the aquatic plant and open up those areas for investments.
Water hyacinth is considered hostile due to its rapid proliferation rate and the challenges it poses to water transportation and aquatic life.
However, countries like United States, India, Bangladesh, Kenya amongst others have in the past sponsored studies on other uses of water hyacinth and today leverage on recent technologies in processing them into various finished products.