Fatimah (second right) helps clear the water hyacinth at Batang Oya.

KUCHING: A study is necessary and will be done to control the growth of water hyacinth (locally called ‘gondok air’ or keladi buntin) in some of the state’s important rivers.

This was said by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

She said the study will be part of a long-term solution to get on top of the wild water hyacinth growth which is affecting public safety and people using river transportation.

“The state’s Ministry of Transport will work with Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Sarawak and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) to conduct a detailed and comprehensive study in finding a more effective and efficient solution.

“The study will cover the local economic impact of the surrounding funds on the ‘gondok air’ population.

“DID Mukah will consider allocating a larger long-term budget for the purpose of cleaning ‘gondok air’ in Batang Oya as well as in other affected rivers in the future,” she said when officiating at the ‘gotong royong’ programme to clean water hyacinth at Batang Oya in front of Dalat Waterfront today.

The water hyacinth has a fast rate of growth which restricts the flow of river water with it potentially being a breeding ground for mosquitoes, Fatimah said.

“It causes problems for river users and fishermen who use motorised boats and also could become a hideout for crocodiles whose number is now increasing in Batang Oya.

“It also resulted in waterways, small rivers or clogged drains that could cause flooding,” she said.

The Dalat assemblywoman said the short-term solution taken by the state government now was through an allocation of RM20,000 by DID Mukah to clear the water hyacinth using barges.

“The Mukah division Rivers Board will allocate a total of RM10,000 to hold a ‘gotong-royong’ work to clear the water hyacinth in the jetty area or in the affected villages. “The Mukah