Congo uses water hyacinth’s properties to fight pollution


At first sight, water hyacinth may look beautiful and harmless. But the plant originating from Southern America is one of the most invasive and noxious aquatic plants. And because of global warming, water hyacinth is spreading at a rapid pace.

As it covers the surface of lakes and other streams in the Republic of Congo, it absorbs oxygene, prevents the reproduction of fish and obstructs the way for fishermen trying to navigate.

Merveille Mavoungou and his teammates found a way to turn the invasive plant into an asset. Water hyacinth’s absorbing capacity can help mitigate industrial waste which pollutes water. He is the plant superintendent at Green Tech Africa: “At first, there was a problem with hyacinth in my home village, in addition to that, there was also a problem in relation to our country. Congo is an oil-producing nation and a member of the OPEC. Today, the organization advocates for the preservation of the environment, so it seemed interesting to me to be able to think about the use of the absorption virtue of water hyacinth in the remediation of seas and lands.

Some 500 kg of water hyacinth are harvested by Green Tech Africa’s engineering team every day. Once the plant is dried and turned into powder, twigs or oleophilic fibers it is ready for use. The new product are generally stocked into a factory located in Southern Brazzavile. Then, shipped to Pointe Noire, a hub in the local petroleum industry.

Christ Nzonzi, the director of Green Tech Africa remembers when the business was first launched:

In the beginning we were faced with the hesitation of several company directors, but today since we’ve multiplied tests within different companies, we have the proof that our product is effective.

“Among our missions, we depollute and in this process we need Green Tech products, because they enable us to clean up water in the zoo.

With his Green Tech Africa team, he dreams big. They hope to conquer the global market as they transform a botanical problem into an eco-friendly solution.