The rapid growth of aquatic weeds like water hyacinth is posing a threat to the Kolab reservoir in Koraput. Such concerns have been raised by environmentalists and experts.
The reservoir’s catchment is spread across several areas of Jeypore, Lamataput, Baipariguda, Nandapur, Semiliguda, and Koraput blocks.
As of now, the reservoir, spreading over 1,630 square kilometres, is struggling for its identity. Due to the rampant growth of invasive plants and the administration looking the other way, the quality of the water is fast-degrading, making it no longer suitable for aquatic animals and human consumption.
“The scientific term to denote the process of forming hyacinth is called eutrophication. It occurs in a water body when it gets polluted with companies releasing their effluents into it and people dumping garbage. The eutrophication makes the water unfit for consumption purposes. This is because the invasive plants will consume the oxygen from the water, reducing its content,” observed Dr Debabrata Panda, Assistant Professor of Odisha Central University.
The rate at which the weeds are growing in the Kerandi River of the reservoir requires the government’s immediate attention or else the time is not far when the entire reservoir would be fully covered with aquatic weeds.
“The cover of this wild growth of hyacinth would have an adverse impact on the availability of food for aquatic creatures like fish. Most importantly, if wild plants are allowed to grow, it would transform the reservoir into an aquatic wasteland. Fish won’t get oxygen and the submerged plants won’t grow either. So the weeds need to be cleared,” said Dr Mihir Jena, an environmentalist.