Drones deployed to detect water hyacinth

Xu Lingchao
The city water authority is using drones to locate the common water hyacinth.
Xu Lingchao

Shanghai Water authority deployed drones to locate water hyacinth in city waterways.

As the second China International Import Expo is coming up, it is vital to keep the waterways clean and fresh. Water hyacinth is not part of that plan.

Water hyacinth is a free-floating aquatic plant native to South America, but as one of the fastest-growing plants known, it is a highly problematic invasive species here in Shanghai.

Uncontrolled, the weed entirely covers lakes and ponds dramatically affecting water flow and blocking sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants which often die. The decay processes depletes dissolved oxygen, killing fish and other aquatic animals like turtles and crabs. 

November is usually the fastest growing time, but they have grown early this year. By the end of September, over 128,000 tons had been removed from waterways in Shanghai, with more than 1.3 million people taking part in the campaign.

As the plant spread so fast, drones are needed, not only spot the water hyacinth but also to map out the pattern of the spread.

In suburban Jinshan District,over 500 surveillance cameras alongside the waterways monitor invasive plants.

Drones deployed to detect water hyacinth
Ti Gong

A drone used by the Shanghai Water Authority to spot water hyacinth

Special Reports