On June 14th 2017, at Florida hotel in Gondar, a workshop that effects the nation of Ethiopia was held. The joint workshop concentrated on progressing efforts to control water hyacinth (The emboch) in Lake Tana. Some of the event’s organizers were the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, the University of Gondar, and the Forest and Wildlife Conservation and Protection Authority.
The University of Gondar’s higher officials, staff, faculty and individuals from various organizational entities were present to brainstorm constructively about the issue at hand. The Hyacinth endemic that engulfs wide swaths of lake Tana has been wreaking havoc for the past 5 years. Its hair like substance that contains tentacle legs may seem to most like a different living species. In actuality it is not a living thing at all but is inanimate. Where it originated from is uncertain. In 2017 it is likely that the confines has become multiplied and is covering larger areas of Ethiopia’s largest lake.
Samuel and Dr. Mehari introduced the day’s theme the University of Gondar’s Academic Vice President, delegate of the President, Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn welcomed the guests who were in attendance. His speech drew on multiple facts that were quite alarming for those who rely on Lake Tana to survive. He pointed out that the waters of the lake would dry unless drastic measures were implemented to prevent a catastrophic event. Dr. Asrat emphasized the need of a coalition to tackle the water hyacinth in and around Tana. He declared, “This discussion is long overdue.” The academic Vice President ended his speech by saying “we must act swiftly.”
With the assistance of the federal, local and state governments as well as politicians, universities and intellectuals the spread of the water hyacinth could be curtailed. It will take a consorted effort on many participants.
Dr. Belayneh, the guest of honor, followed the same tune. He focused on the lack of instinctual eagerness by researchers to act with haste. Even though Lake Tana is found in the Amhara region the Dr. emphasized that the issue is a national one.“ Many dams are powered by this lake” he said, “therefore if Lake Tana is effected the electric supply of many Ethiopians will be reduced.” Along these lines he also foreshadowed future damages to neighboring countries. Lake Tana contributes about 80% of the Niles waters via the Blue Nile. Hence, if the Blue Nile has a reduction in water flow the down stream countries, most likely Sudan and Egypt will feel the effects.
There are multiple ways of attacking the Emboch. The University of Gondar has proposed 2 possible options. The first being a mechanical one and the second, chemical.With machines being created to contain the hyacinth, chemicals must also be used to dissolve them. These two methods will be a first in the country and its importance is vital to our precious lake.
Calls for action are ripe leading to many energized intellectuals to act. From the overall mood of the workshop it was evident that various organizations will bring a solution. As Professor Mersha Chanie, Research and Community Service Vice President of UOG stated, “we are lagging and should act intensely. If we do not act now Lake Tana will be in danger.” Profesor Mersha continued, “Our eyes are open and our ears are hearing.” He finished by declaring this issue that endangers Lake Tana concerns all people, therefore work must be done and started immediately.
By Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate