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Are we losing River Chania to Water Hyacinth?

A Section of River Chania that is heavily infested by the green like vegetation.
Thika Town Today news team wishes to express its concern over the growth of some green like vegetation in parts of Chania River, the state and county institutions seem to have failed in taking effective steps in conservation of the river.  

Water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes Martius (Pontederiaceae) is an exotic free-floating perennial plant that is native to South America (Brazil. Originally introduced in 1884 for its beautiful flowers, water hyacinth has invaded most of Lake Victoria in Kenya, displacing native vegetation due to its rapid growth during the summer, interference with navigation, irrigation and power generation. 

The weed has been billed as big problem since its first attack on the lake in the 90s, has covered the beaches of Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Homa Bay and Busia counties, paralysing fishing, lake transport and tourism activities.

The spread of invasive alien species is neither easy to manage nor easy to reverse, threatening not only biodiversity but also economic development and human well-being. It has been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the 100 most aggressive invasive species (Téllez et al., 2008) and recognized as one of the top 10 worst weeds in the world (Shanab et al., 2010, Gichuki et al., 2012, Patel, 2012). 

It is characterised by rapid growth rates, extensive dispersal capabilities, large and rapid reproductive output and broad environmental tolerance

Whilst the National Environmental Policy, 2013: provides a strategy for dealing with the country’s ever growing environmental issues and challenges such as environmental governance; loss of biodiversity; valuation of environmental and natural resources; rehabilitation and restoration of environmentally degraded areas; urbanisation, waste management and pollution; climate change, energy, security and disaster, little has been done to save Chania River. 

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visit by our news team reveals that the green like vegetation has continued to spread across the river which serves as the main supply of water to Thika residents and industries.

However, negative features are only one aspect of the water hyacinth; there is another side to it. On many occasions it has been demonstrated that this weed is an excellent water depollutant for domestic water wastes.

Water hyacinth control is absolutely essential. Control methods that are often used include mechanical, chemical and biological control. However, existing methods have often been insufficient to contain the aggressive propagation of the weed and viability of its seeds despite substantial monetary investments over the years.

So, before these 'greens' get to catastrophic levels in the river, we wish to request the relevant bodies to do something to save River Chania from extinction. 

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