THE invasive Giant Salvinia Molesta, locally referred to as the Nankabirwa weed, which is fast spreading on the lake will soon have a devastating effect
By John Eremu
MID this month, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) announced that a second ferry was being procured to ply the Zengebe – Namasale route across Lake Kyoga.
The second ferry to beef up MV Kyoga 1 launched two years ago is a result of increased volume of traffic across the lake and the need to reduce on the waiting time.
The current ferry with a capacity of 15 vehicles and 120 passengers takes two hours and 20 minutes to make a round trip.
However, there is concern that the invasive Giant Salvinia Molesta, locally referred to as the Nankabirwa weed, which is fast spreading on the lake will soon have a devastating effect on the vessels and water transport across the lake.
Judith Acana, the Amolatar district woman councilor, said the Government needs to urgently deal with the weed lest the sh8b ferry will be rendered redundant.
The Giant Salvinia Molesta it is ranked by the International Conservation Union (IUCN) among the worst 100 invasive weeds in the world.
It is not known how the weed was introduced on Ugandan lakes but importation of the weed is outlawed in many developed countries because of its devastating ecological and economic effect.
The weed was added to the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) Alert List in 2007 and transferred to the List of Invasive Alien Plants in 2012 (EPPO 2012), according to IUCN.
Research indicates that this aquatic fern, thrives in slow-moving, nutrient-rich, warm, freshwater. It grows very rapidly, out-competing most aquatic plants and is dispersed long distances within water bodies via water currents and between water bodies through animals and contaminated equipment, boats or vehicles.
“Nankabirwa” chokes Kyoga ferry