At the Interior Trading Company we specialise in fair trade home wares. All of our products are made by hand using natural products and local resources available to our women artisans.
Our water hyacinth products are made in Cambodia where water hyacinth is a serious environmental weed. It’s a weed in Australia too. Water hyacinth (Eichorrnia crassipes) is a floating aquatic plant that thrives on nutrient rich water and sunlight.
We work with women from floating villages in the great Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. It’s the biggest lake in south-east Asia and is tidally fed by the Mekong River. The lake is vast and there are many communities living in the floating villages there.
Water hyacinth literally surrounds the small floating houses and makes navigation on the lake difficult in the dry season.
The rudders of the many long boats effectively chops the water hyacinth up and propagates it further adding to the problem. There’s also additional nutrients in the lake from the fishing industry and the villages.
On my first trip there I was shocked to see the huge environmental issue that the water hyacinth was causing.
I have a land management background and work in this area in Australia. I was drawn to the lake initially to see the flooded forest ecosystems and look for migratory bir
d species. The lake is a significant RAMSAR wetland and a very important habitat for many migratory bird species.
Sadly the water hyacinth is replacing several local species on the lake and reducing the biodiversity values of the site.