Water Hyacinth – UPSC Prelims

Water Hyacinth:
  • Water hyacinth is a free-floating and flowering invasive aquatic plant that originated from Amazon Basin, South America.
Why is Water Hyacinth considered invasive?
  • It grows rapidly and can form thick layers over the water. So Water hyacinth is considered invasive throughout the world.
  • These mats shade out the other aquatic plants. Eventually, these shaded plants die and decay.
  • The decaying process depletes the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. As oxygen levels decline, many fish are unable to survive.
  • Hence, often the waters below water hyacinth masses witness the absence of life.
Other Effects of Water Hyacinth:
  • Water Hyacinth interferes with boat navigation and prevents fishing, swimming and other recreational activities.
  • The water hyacinth may also clog intake pipes used for drinking water, hydropower or irrigation.
  • Moreover, it creates a prime habitat for mosquitoes that carry a variety of infectious diseases. So, water hyacinth is also considered a serious threat to biodiversity and human health.
Water Hyacinth in India:
  • States like Assam and Kerala are highly affected by the Water Hyacinth.
  • Water Hyacinth is also referred to as the Bengal terror. This is because of its effect on the local ecology and lives of the people.

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