Next time you find water hyacinth or banana fibre, don’t dump it in the garbage bin dubbing it a waste. They can add to the ambiance of your drawing room.
The stalk of water hyacinth, considered as menace to water bodies, has been found to be a very good natural fibre. Naturally useful “It has to be cut and dried and can be woven into baskets, mats, bags, furnitures etc,” says Manoj Das, DGM of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi).
Water hyacinth grows very fast and destroys the crops and fisheries and had no use except for compost manure on potato crops. But in countries like Indonesia and Thailand, high value furniture, bags and other products are made from it.
Utility at its best In India, NEDFi has taken the initiative to use this ‘so-far-useless’ plant for useful means. “We have hired a trainer to train local artisans in the use of water hyacinth and develop products like dustbins, laundry bags, mats, etc,” Das said. The dried water hyacinth now fetches up to Rs 50 a kg. Another curious addition to NEDFi’s product range is banana bark products. “Yoga mats from banana fibre were a craze at our recent exhibition in the Capital,” says Das.