By Nel Andrade
PILILLA, Rizal – Water hyacinths, commonly referred by locals as water lilies, are once again clogging the shores of villages in this town.
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, Mario Yokingco told Manila Bulletin that hundreds of fishermen and their family who depend on fishing are feeling the effect of the abnormal spreading of the water hyacinths in Laguna Lake, the primary source of several species of freshwater fishes in the province.
Yokingco said the plants block waterways, preventing fishermen from reaching their fishing grounds.
The plants are thriving at an unusually fast pace, spreading from the lakeshore to the middle of the lake, according to Yokingco.
As a result, the prices of fish such as tilapia, bangus and kanduli have gone up.
“The lake has more water lily now compared to last year,” Yokingco said.
Yokingco said that so far no untoward incident has been reported as a result of the overgrowth of hyacinths.
In 2017, rescuers saved an elderly fisherman who went missing only to be found bruised and floating among the hyacinths in the middle of the lake.
The growth of hyacinths in Laguna Lake speeds up especially during the southwest monsoon season.