Local Communities’ Perceptions about the Impacts of Water Hyacinth Infestation in Lake Victoria on Economic Activities in Nyalenda B Ward, Kisumu County, Kenya
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is ranked as one of the most invasive weeds causing negative effects on aquatic ecosystems around the world. In the last decades, there has been increased interest in the impacts of water hyacinth and how it can be utilised in various applications such as animal feeds and fertiliser production, wastewater treatment, biofuel production and as raw material for handicraft products. The objectives of this study are: (i) to determine the impacts of water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria on the economic activities of the local community living in Nyalenda B Ward, Kisumu County, Kenya, and (ii) to assess the methods which can be used to control water hyacinth in the lake. The study used a descriptive research design. The study involved the collection of data through observation, questionnaires, and interviews. The study found that water hyacinth infestation in the lake mainly impacted economic activities such as fishing, tourism, weaving and biogas production. Fewer respondents (<20 %) utilised water hyacinths to make animal feeds and to produce fertiliser. The most preferred methods for controlling water hyacinth were manual and mechanical methods. The utilisation of water hyacinth in various industrial applications such as pulp and paper production, wastewater treatment and agriculture needs to be explored and scaled up by the relevant government agencies to contribute towards the economic wellbeing of local communities and environmental conservation of Lake Victoria
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