Published: Friday 31 May 1996

Water hyacinths, Eichhomia crassipes, are posing a mafor problem for the country. Nearly 80 per cent of the Ugandan shoreline is clogged with these plants, which are killipg animals and vegetation in the Lake Victoria and seriously upsetting local life. At some places the water hyacinth is so thick that fishing boats cannot leave the shore and ferries are stuck in the weed for hours at a time. Moreover, there are deadly snakes, disease-carrying mosquitoes and the snails which - spread a crippling disease scistosomiasis. "We have a real emergency," said Timothy Twongo from the Fisheries Research Institute in Uganda.To combat the problem, adult weevils belonging to two South American species, Neo- chetina eichorniae and N.bruchi, are being fed on the leaves of the water hyacinth. The larvae of the weevils chew into its stem and crown. The governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to release large numbers of weevils into the lake later this year.

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