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Vol. 11 No. 1 - January 2005

National Workshop on Aquatic Weeds: Threat to Environment or Boon in Disguise

By: Shailendra Mathur

A National Workshop on ‘Aquatic Weeds – Threat to Environment or Boon in Disguise’ was held at College of Technology and Engineering, Udaipur-313 001 India on September 4, 2004 with special attention to the water hyacinth. The objectives of the workshop were to identify the problems created by aquatic weeds and to identify the various technologies to control them. This workshop was inaugurated by an Agronomist Dr. A. S. Paroda, Chairman, Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board, New Delhi and presided over by Dr. K.N. Nag, Ex Vice Chancellor of Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner. Dr. A. N. Mathur, Dean of the College delivered the welcome address and Dr. S. M. Mathur Convener of the workshop highlighted the aims and profile of the scientists participating in this workshop. Eminent scientists, from all corners of the country and from the field of engineering, agriculture, environmental sciences, Botany, Chemistry, Pollution control etc. participated in the workshop. Many postgraduate students from various disciplines were also registered for the workshop.

This workshop was divided in two Technical Sessions. The first session dealt with the discussion on the general aquatic weeds whereas the second session was dedicated to the water hyacinth. The presented papers were discussed at length and recommendations were formulated for the management of aquatic weeds.  A poster session was also arranged to explain the various uses of the water hyacinth. Dr. S. M. Mathur also developed a multimedia on theme of the workshop entitled ‘Water hyacinth-Threat to Environment or Boon in Disguise’ and presented it in the workshop. It was very much appreciated by the students and scientist.  A water hyacinth chopper cum crusher developed by Dr. Mathur at CTAE, Udaipur India, was also demonstrated in this workshop. The machine was capable of reducing the volume and weight of water hyacinth to reduce the cost of transportation.

Scientists were of the opinion that water hyacinth should not be allowed to grow in fresh water lakes as a crop but it should be allowed to grow in sewerage water or  in  the downstream of the industrial waste. Various control methods like chemical, biological, mechanical and manual were discussed at length in this workshop. Scientists were of the opinion that chemical control of water hyacinth in the fresh water lakes should not be advocated because the water stored in these lakes is utilized for drinking purpose. On the other hand many scientists had presented their work on biological control of water hyacinth but it was suggested that it is a slow processes and the results are not much encouraging. Therefore, it was concluded that in the fresh water lakes precautionary measures should be taken not to allow the water hyacinth to grow. To control it in fresh water one should use the mechanical and manual methods. Scientists also presented their work on the utilization of water hyacinth.  The harvested water hyacinth should be chopped and crushed on the site itself and transported to the various places for utilization such as in biogas plants, as soil mulch, as fertilizers etc. It will compensate the cost of harvesting also. The workshop was concluded with the concluding remarks of Prof. B. L.Chaudhary, Vice Chancellor of the Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India. He mentioned that water hyacinth should be controlled and utilized as per the need of the situation and each aquatic plant should not be considered as a weed.  Some aquatic plants play very important role in nutrient recycling in the fresh water. For more details of the workshop and technical reports please log on to www.mpuat.ac.in/workshop.htm or contact to Dr. S. M. Mathur convener of the workshop at shiloo592003@yahoo.co.in

Dr. S. M. Mathur is Associate Professor at the Department of Farm Machinery & Power Engineering, College of Technology & Engineering, Udaipur-313 001 (Rajasthan), India.


This article has been reproduced from the archives of EnviroNews - Newsletter of ISEB India.


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