Invasion of the Pond Snatchers!

The common water hyacinths, a free floating aquatic plant, is one of the fastest multiplying plant species on the planet. Every week their population is known to double. If unchecked, a single water hyacinth can turn into a full fledged invasion in a matter of months. Reeling under this aquatic menace is Idega, a tribal village of around 40 families in rural Jharkhand.

Like many villages in India, Idega has come up around a body of water, in its case a 15 acre pond. The pond is the life of the Munda tribal inhabitants of the village. Water from the pond has been used by the villagers in every facet of their lives. They use the water for everyday needs like drinking, bathing,  irrigating their fields and raising their cattle. The fish and snails caught from the pond contribute to the cooking pot. But for the last six years, water hyacinth has created unforetold havoc to life and livelihood in this small community.

A tightly enmeshed mat of water hyacinths clogs the pond making it difficult for the villagers and the cattle to source the everyday requirement of water. The ecological balance of the area has been messed with. The number of fish in the pond has dipped. During monsoons, the hyacinths flood along with the water. They invade and settle onto the ploughed fields. This natural dumping of the plant has had an adverse effect on the quality of the soil and the produce.

The villagers are sick of this aquatic menace. They have complained many times to the authorities and received promises of immediate action. Already six years have passed and the village has seen no steps taken by the village and block authorities. Some villagers volunteer to wade into the water and do some clearing. But that is hardly enough. The villagers keep trying to cope with the difficulties and hope that the authorities will finally act on thier complaints.

Meanwhile, each water hyacinth in the pond doubles itself with every passing week.

Call To Action: Call Idega Village Chief Hira Mani Samad on +919693534997 and/or BDO Amar George on +919835363051, and demand that they take appropriate steps to end the water hyacinth menace without further delay.

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