Lagos Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has kickstarted the process of ridding the state’s waterways of debris and hyacinth.
Speaking at the commissioning of two Water Hyacinth and Debris Removal Machines held at Ebute Ero Jetty, the governor said for a long time, hyacinth, which is otherwise known as aquatic weed, has been a major source of concern with attendant challenges to the waterways sector.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare said the machines were purchased to address challenges posed by water hyacinth and added that same was in line with the strategic implementation of Lagos master plan for the waterways.
“The machines will encourage water transportation and this initiative is necessary now that we are working towards clean-up of the waterways.
“It will also encourage fishery so that our water economy can be improved upon,” the governor said.
In her welcome remarks, Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Abisola Kamson said the commissioning was a dream come true as the machines would go a long way in eradicating hyacinth on marine ecosystems of the state, particularly in Ikorodu, Ajah, Badagry, Lagos Island, Oworonshoki, Mile 2 and Epe axis.
She said aside negatively affecting the socio-economic activities of fishermen and inhabitants of the riverine communities, water hyacinth, which is a seasonal threat, had brought about damages to propulsion system of boats thus affecting water transportation.
Giving technical insight as to the workings of the machine, Kamson said it acts like an underwater lawn mower and cuts the vegetation, as well as collects and store weeds and debris, while it is fitted with a pick-up conveyor at the forward end which can be lowered up to six feet deep into the water for effective cleaning of the waterways.
“This symbolic gesture by the Lagos State Government is jump-starting the clean-up of our waterways and preparing ground for other revolutionary activities of LASWA’s development plan to transform the Lagos Waterways to world class standards.
“To us at LASWA and, indeed, the entire waterways family, we will remain ever grateful to governor Ambode and the entire cabinet for arming us with teeth to bite the hyacinth menace which traumatises our waterways.”
She also pledged that the machines would not be under-utilised and assured that they would be deployed immediately for clean-up of the waterways.
Besides, Kamson said arrangement had been concluded with the Ministry of Environment to increase monitoring activities with the view to ensuring that those who disrespect the waterways through dumping of waste, pollution, defecation and other illegal activities are made to face the full wrath of the law.
On his part, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of Association of Tourism Boat Water Operators, Chief Wellington Ilori-Akingbulu commended governor Ambode and his team for the initiative.
He also said the machines would help resolve incessant accidents and engine problems caused by water hyacinth and debris.