Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday, began the process of ridding the state’s waterways of debris and hyacinth, with the view to boosting water transportation and positively scaling up activities relating to the waterways.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the commissioning of two water hyacinth and debris removal machines, held at Ebute Ero Jetty, said for a long time, hyacinth, which was otherwise known as aquatic weed, had been a major source of concern with attendant challenges to the waterways sector.
Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare, said the machines were purchased by his administration to frontally address the challenges posed by water hyacinth, adding that same was in line with the strategic implementation of Lagos master plan for the waterways.
“We have bought the machines to take away debris and hyacinth from the lagoon. 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 the water economy will be improved upon,” the governor said.
In her welcome remarks, Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Abisola Kamson, said the commissioning was a dream come true, as the machines would go a long way in eradicating the menace of water hyacinth on marine ecosystems of the state, particularly the 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 was 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.
She also pledged that the machines would not be under-utilised, assuring that they would be deployed immediately for clean-up of the waterways.
Besides, Kamson said arrangement had been concluded with the Ministry of the 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 were 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, saying the machines would go a long way in removing the incessant accidents and engine problems caused by water hyacinth and debris.