Australian scientists have called the water hyacinth “the world’s worst aquatic weed,” clogging rivers, dams, lakes and irrigation channels in every continent except Antarctica. It destroys aquatic environments and costs billions of dollars a year to control.
Yet, some sectors have found a use for the water hyacinths, turning these aquatic pests into a worthwhile venture churning out thousands of pesos. More specifically, they have made a livelihood out of water hyacinth processing for products such as classy wall coverings.
And thanks to the Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI), many families living near the Laguna Lake have found an extra source of income, as more and more livelihood coops in the area are getting involved in water hyacinth processing.
FPRDI developed the Water Hyacinth Dryer which reduces the drying time of water hyacinth stems from about a week to only a few hours. This allows the stems to be better protected from molds. At the same time, it allows small and medium-sized businesses to maintain and even raise their production as they are able to thoroughly dry their materials during the rainy months.
“Mayor Bernardo San Juan, Jr. of Cardona, Rizal has reported that using the dryer, the cooperative Samahang Kababaihang Barangay Patunhay (KBP) plans to double their production capacity to 50,000 stems per week,” said FPRDI’s Wency H. Carmelo. “Most of the coop’s dried and pressed water hyacinth stems are bought by the Magic Clean Company which turns them into high-end wall coverings exported to 45 countries,” he added.
To know more about the water hyacinth dryer and other FPRDI technologies, contact FPRDI at (+6349)536-2586/ 536-2360/536-2377 or visit the FPRDI booth at the National Science and Technology Week Celebration at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, July 24-28, 2015. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.nstw.dost.gov.ph and like us on Facebook at nstw2015. (S&T Media Service)