The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology – Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) found a way to use water hyacinth, considered an aquatic pest, as a source of livelihood for families living near Laguna Lake.

FPDRI developed the water hyacinth dryer which speeds up the drying time of water hyacinth stems from about a week to only a few hours.

This allows small and medium-sized businesses to maintain and raise production of water hyacinth products that may provide extra source of income to families living near Laguna Lake.

In contrast to Australian scientists who dubbed water hyacinth as “the world’s worst aquatic weed,” DOST thinks these aquatic pests may become a venture and can be turned into thousands of pesos.

Water hyacinths are known for clogging rivers, dams, lakes and irrigation channels in every continent except Antarctica. It also destroys aquatic environments and costs billions of dollars a year to control.

DOST believes that the water hyacinth dryer may provide livelihood out of water hyacinth processing for products such as classy wall coverings.

The agency said several livelihood coops in Laguna Lake area are getting involved in the water hyacinth processing.

“Mayor Bernardo San Juan, Jr. of Cardona, Rizal has reported that using the dryer, the cooperative Samahang Kababaihang Barangay Patunhay (KBP) plans to double their production capacity to 50,000 stems per week,” said FPRDI’s Wency Carmelo.

“Most of the coop’s dried and pressed water hyacinth stems are bought by the Magic Clean Company which turns them into high-end wall coverings exported to 45 countries,” Carmelo added.

The DOST-FPRDI will provide further information regarding the water hyacinth dryer and other FPRDI technologies at National Science and Technology Week Celebration at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay from July 24 to 28, 2015.