Ethiopia’s largest lake threatened by water hyacinth

ESAT News (July 10, 2017)

The ecosystem of Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake, has been threatened by the spread of water hyacinth, which experts warn could create significant damages to the fish and other aquatic life.

Besides its negative effect in hampering transportation, irrigation and hydroelectric power, it also creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Experts also warn that the weed could also threaten the livelihood of the people who live around the lake. The production of fish from the lake has already dwindled and residents of the city of Bahir Dar rely on farm fish from Tekeze river.

Experts say the country’s environment protection agencies, both at the local and federal level have not given serious attention to mitigate the problem .

The water hyacinth first appeared five years ago and believe to have been brought by expat engineers working on nearby dams, according to Wase Anteneh, a researcher with the University of Bahir Dar. He said the weed has so far covered 50,000 hectares of the lake.

Lake Tana has surface area of about 3,500 square kilometers, and is the source of the Blue Nile. It is also home to a number of monasteries.