A technology that removes harmful weeds from lakes

Kapra lake

Dumping of waste in waster bodies is an activity that indicates dumping of various kinds of pollutants, mainly human generated, into water. One of the most significant problems that lakes in India face is the attack of water hyacinths, which breed in alarming numbers due to the pollutants in the water. However, these harmful weeds can now be used as compost, optimising the nutrients within the hyacinth to create organic fertiliser of high standards, thanks to the Accelerated Anaerobic Composting (AAC) technology developed by the scientists of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, in association with Khar Energy Optimisers.

AAC can convert green waste into usable compost within 28 days. “Khar wanted this to be used for water hyacinths plaguing the lakes, and that was where our project started,” says Dr Gangagni Rao, the principal scientist who worked on the project.

So how this works

The water hyacinths are first collected from the lake using a JCB. Later, the stems are removed from the roots and are chopped into small pieces using a chaff cutter. These are blended with an anaerobic culture developed by Dr Rao and his team, resulting in highly-fertile organic compost.

The project has proved to be efficient in the Kapra Lake of Hyderabad, where among 113 acres, 80 acres (the equivalent of 16,000 tonne) were occupied by water hyacinths, but the question is, can this technology apply to the lakes across India?

He adds that the water hyacinth can be used for several purposes, including the generation of biogas, making handicrafts such as baskets and pulp for handmade paper—but it is composting that is the most economical solution and has the potential to be a permanent solution for lakes across the country.