Major Campaign against Water Hyacinth on Lake Tana Begins

ADDIS ABEBA – Authorities have launched a month-long campaign to remove water hyacinth from Lake Tana on Monday.

“Our national month long campaign, 19 Oct-16 Nov against water hyacinth (Emboch) on Lake Tana starts today,” Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia, declared on Monday.

The minister took part in the first day of the campaign which involves thousands of people.

Seleshi described the first day of rooting out the weed, which involved thousands of people, farmers, youth and officials, as “successful”.

“We just completed the half day work. It is evident we are up-to the challenge,” he said.

The campaign aims to remove and reduce the weed by physical and mechanical means to 10% or less.

It will be followed by sustainable solutions involving watershed management “breaking nutrient inflow to the lake, echo-hydrology solutions & buffer zone protection”, Seleshi said.

Authorities say both mechanical and manual effort of rooting out the hyacinth is a temporary solution and see sustainable environmental protection practices as the long lasting solution.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told lawmakers last June that the long-term solution to save Lake of Tana from hyacinth is protecting the source of its water.

Rivers feeding the Tana and Tekeze originate from Mount Guna.

“We need to protect this mountain as part of first defence to tackle this issue,” he said.

Farmers around the mountain have been victims of flash floods, especially in the Fogera area, where their fertile soil and fertilizer are washed away and boosts the growth of hyacinth, authorities say.