Saving the Nile from invasive plants
Ahmed Nassar, head of the Fishermen Syndicate - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO:  The spread of invasive water hyacinth, known in Egypt as “ward el-Nile” is affecting water flow in Egypt by clogging waterways, including in Desouk in Kafr el-Sheikh governorate where 10,000 fishermen are out of a job because of the plant, Youm7 reported Tuesday.

Ahmed Nassar, head of the Fishermen Syndicate in the city condemned officials for their inaction in addressing the problem and called on the Ministry of Irrigation to remove water hyacinth from the Nile River, especially near Desouk.

The lavender-colored water hyacinth is native to South America, and has a long track record of wreaking havoc on ecosystems when introduced outside its native environment. Outbreaks of the flower have been causing problems throughout the Nile River countries since at least the 1980s.

El-Balad and other media outlets reported in early May that Kafr el-Sheikh Governor Saad al-Husseiny issued a decision to form a committee to oversee operations to remove water hyacinth from the Nile.

The governor said in a statement that the committee was established due to complaints from residents and fishermen.

In related news, Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib organized a tour May 24 in Cairo to check on the progress of removing invasive plants from the Nile in Maadi and Helwan.

The minister said in March that the ministry formed a committee to follow up on the removal of water hyacinth in addition to other violations damaging to the river.

There are a number of methods to eliminate water hyacinth from the Nile, including research by students Qotb Kamel and Ibrahim Hassan, according to Cairo Dar on May 1.

They invented a device to minimize water waste and convert water hyacinth into fertilizer and food for cattle in Kafr el-Sheikh. The device can be installed on a boat and drags the plants away so they can be recycled.

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