Klearing the Khlongs - The Menace of the Water Hyacinths

in Liketu6 months ago (edited)

Here in Thailand, and especially around Bangkok, we have a huge network of canals (khlongs) that provide both irrigation and drainage that eventually lead into the mighty Chao Praya river and away into the Gulf of Thailand.

This whole network was created over hundreds of years to protect the capital from flooding as the majority of the area in the central plains around Bangkok sits around sea level. However, there's a problem.

Back in the early twentieth century, an unnamed member of the Royal family, introduced an invasive species of the plant into Thailand from Indonesia, the Water Hyacinth, which in turn had originated in South America. It is said to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world and flourished in Thailand's inland waterways to such an extent that each year, thousands of miles of canals and rivers become carpeted and clogged by this herbaceous imposter. Its main growing season happens to coincide with the rainy season and chaos ensues with flash floods almost day as the Water Hyacinths block drainage channels and water gets backed up.

Time to send out the local council. Better late than never boys!

I was hoping to see a few snakes pop out, or even a huge water monitor lizard but I guess the sound of the diggers and weird harvester boat thing had them all running for cover. The smell though was terrible as they crap on the bottom of the canal got stirred up. These canals are so dirty and full of crap it's untrue.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes are cleared annually but the good news is, that not all of this ends up in a landfill. Upon reading up, it appears this is quite a useful plant and can be turned into all manner of eco-friendly 'stuff' like cardboard, packaging, and even oil. It just cost me two hours of my life as followed the links and is worth an article in its own right at some time. For now, enjoy the sight of other people doing some serious graft for $12 a day as you sit behind your PC, nursing your Starbucks Frappucino!

Not a problem we have back home in Yorkshire on the Aire and Calder Navigation!



When they arrived, you couldn't see the water as the whole of the surface was carpeted.




The guy on this harvester was dragging the water hyacinths out and pushing them down to where the grab was scooping them out and into trucks.


I'd hate to imagine the number of wee, not-so-timid beasties in each grab load!




And this is how it looks after. Still disgusting and dirty but without the covering. At least now, the water can flow again.


1 HBI share if you can spot the wife in this picture.


Trucks were lining up to be filled. One after another.

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Dang that's a lot of water hyacinths. And I thought it got bad around the province rivers here, it seems worse there

Everything is worse here lol....hows the Pasig River doing these days? It was always a 'little' polluted! Im sure you could get a Ph.D by analysing the chemicals in there.

The Pasig river got a little cleaner when I was still an undergrad. I have no idea now if they still cleaned it though but lol I'm not touching the water there

How often are these canals needed to be cleaned?

Once a year, needs to be as everything feeds into the main river and theres a lot of big shipping that cant afford to get their props fouled up. Mammoth task.

The sight of the cleared canal is quite satisfying in a weird way.

Seeing the way it carpeted the water just gave me an idea of a useful thing I could do with these water hyacinth if I got a hold of em. They’re not very common around here though. Dang:(

It is actually! Youre nearly as OCD as me man! They do get used here to and recycled but there are just too many! Ill post you some, theyll soon be taking over!

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Loving my frapuccino as I read this... 🤣🤣

That is one invasive beast! We have loads of that Japanese knotweed which is toxic as hell of you touch it but at least it doesn't block anything!

Behave man! I never realised 'faux millenial' was a thing...

So the question is, why doesnt the Japanese knotweed kill off those Pesky american crayfish? You could have a whole new extension to WW2 going on in your local pond!

I have heard about the American crayfish. Apparently they are fecking everywhere down south. I think it might be too cold up here for them but you never know.

If you go down to the woods today... 🤣🤣

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