The Water Hyacinth

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What is Water hyacinth?

Often confused with the water lily, the water Hyacinth is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant that is characterized by its broad and thick leaves. It may rise up to 1 meter in height which causes blockage in waterways.

facts about the water hyacinth

  • It is considered one of the worst aquatic plant species.
  • It can reproduce at an extraordinary rate.
  • Its leaves can grow and expand up to 6 feet thick.
  • Surprisingly, the water Hyacinth thrives in polluted bodies of water. Studies have been done to test its properties for phytoremediation, a low-cost cleanup technique that directly uses living plants to lessen environmental contamination. However, no initiatives have been done to explore and utilize this potential.

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1. Environmental impact

Deemed as one of the most damaging aquatic plants in the world, the water hyacinth has severely infested Philippine waters and its nearby communities with its rapid rate of proliferation. It can flower throughout the year and releases more than 3 000 seeds per year. With this extraordinary rate of production, the Water Hyacinth species outnumber other aquatic species in the vicinity, threatening the stability of fresh water and its biological diversity. Furthermore, its leaves and pads can reduce light and oxygen, which causes phytoplanktons to significantly decrease in number, affecting the photosynthetic cycle and endangering fish species.

2. Impact on Safety and Health

Death and decay of large masses of the Water Hyacinth can cause rapid deterioration of water quality, potentially losing sources of clean, potable water. In addition, the floating mats of the water hyacinth serve as breeding ground for pests and other organisms detrimental to the health and safety of neighboring communities. There is an alarming increase of cases of malaria and cholera which can be attributed to swarms of mosquitos, snails, and other disease-carrying parasites that are commonly found inhabiting the Water Hyacinth pads. There are also increased incidences of crocodile attacks and snake bites that are said to have been caused by the extra cover and protection provided by the large pads of the water Hyacinth [4].

3. Economic Impact

This invasive species has not only threatened aquatic biodiversity but also hindered economic and social development among affected communities. In Laguna de Bay, it covers about 20% of the lake’s surface area; and because of the water’s high sewage concentrations, the plant yields about 657 tons of dry matter per hectare a year. In the 1990s, the world reportedly spent $3 Billion a year just to control the weed with little success.

It also causes problems in marine transportation, fishing, and irrigation. By clogging up waterways, it causes floods and increased water pollution. Its pervasive presence has caused barriers to waterways and hindered the development of the fishing industry, especially in the major water areas of the Philippines (Pasig River, Laguna de Bay, etc.). It also clogs irrigation systems, causing heavy flooding in major cities during the typhoon season.

uses.jpgBecause the Water Hyacinth is known for being one of the most invasive plant species, many people disregard its benefits and livelihood opportunities.

  1. New food source for animals

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Source

Many research scientists have investigated its potential as an inexpensive and sustainable food substitute for livestock. Massive volumes of dried water Hyacinth may be ground and treated using specific chemicals and machines to turn them into a viable food source for animals [3]. However, more research must be put into its economic feasibility as the treatment process may be complicated and costly. Despite this, with its enormous potential, this could significantly help water-infested communities financially and economically.

2. Water purifier

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As mentioned earlier, the Water Hyacinth has already been tested for its phytoremediation properties, used to purify contaminated water. In a drinking water treatment plant water hyacinth have been used as part of the pretreatment purification step. After this purification process, the water will result in a significant decrease in turbidity. Water hyacinth has also been used for the removal or reduction of nutrients, heavy metals, organic compounds and pathogens from water [5].

3. Fertilizer

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Source

Water hyacinth can also be used as compost and fertilizer. In countries where mineral fertilizers are expensive, this can serve as a sustainable and cheap alternative for high-quality fertilizers. The water hyacinth pads are dried and mixed with ash, soil, and animal manure. The mixture can be left in piles to compost, the warmer climate of tropical countries accelerating the process. The compost increases soil fertility and crop yield and generally improves the quality of the soil [5].

4. Furniture, Handicrafts, and Paper

The Water Hyacinth is only a pest when we don’t utilize it to its full potential. Many companies and social entrepreneurs have explored the idea of using Water Hyacinth as paper, ropes, or the base of woven bags and other handicrafts.

Other uses of the Water Hyacint: Charcoal Briquettes, baskets, yarn & ropes, paper

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Our company, Jacinto and Lirio, is one of the few that uses creativity to market this “pest” as a viable environmental, social and commercial solution to this infestation problem.

Through the creation of well-designed, functional and Philippine-inspired plant leathergoods, Jacinto&Lirio aims to improve the lives of people from both ends of the spectrum—the water hyacinth communities who are empowered through meaningful work, and the people purchasing who are enriched by the eco-friendly products. We aim to work within a collaborative business model for the purpose stated in the mission– social impact in livelihood, environmental protection, and product innovation.

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Jacinto and Lirio’s core mission is to help our partner communities in our supply chain to be sustainable & scalable enterprises. There is a need to strengthen the sustainability of community livelihoods using indigenous materials, which is a major source of income in various areas in Asia.

We capitalize on material innovations to create higher-value products using their indigenous materials. This supply chain synergy will be the platform to channel wealth back to the communities which will benefit community development and give a higher quality of life.

For every purchase of Jacinto & Lirio, we contribute to the community development of our partners so they can keep transforming their families, and their communities for the better.

 

References
Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.phlpost.gov.ph/stamp-releases.php?id=3662 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].
Ecop.pbworks.com. (2019). Environmental Challenges of the RP / Water Hyacinth – A Crisis or an Opportunity 0708. [online] Available at: http://ecop.pbworks.com/w/page/18520921/Water%20Hyacinth%20-%20A%20Crisis%20or%20an%20Opportunity%200708 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].
Ecop.pbworks.com. (2019). Environmental Challenges of the RP / Water Hyacinth Pollution Control Properties 0708. [online] Available at: http://ecop.pbworks.com/w/page/18520928/Water%20Hyacinth%20Pollution%20Control%20Properties%200708 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].
UNEP Sioux Falls. (2019). Water hyacinth-can its aggressive invasion be controlled?. [online] Available at: https://na.unep.net/geas/getuneppagewitharticleidscript.php?article_id=98 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2019].
Library.uniteddiversity.coop. (2019). [online] Available at: http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Water_and_Sanitation/water_hyacinth_control.pdf [Accessed 16 Apr. 2019].
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Values and women-led social entrepreneurship | International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship | Ahead of Print

Thank you, Bruce for mentioning Jacinto&Lirio in your study and giving light to our advocacies! Our company has always been deeply rooted in our values and our mission to help our partner communities in Water Hyacinth-infested areas. It is the heart of what we do.

“J&L produces and markets “plant leather” wallets, journals and planners made from the water hyacinth (an invasive aquatic plant that clogs lakes and rivers in the Philippines). The company remediates the environmental impact of the water hyacinth, empowers affected communities through sustainable livelihoods and social development programmes and promotes responsible consumption and national pride. We categorise J&L as faith-inspired because both founders identify religious faith as a primary inspiration, but religious practices do not feature in the company’s programme and activities.”

 

You can read the full article at Values and women-led social entrepreneurship | International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship | Ahead of Print

5 Time Management Tips for the Busy Student

“If only I had more time to study, I probably would have aced this exam,” I’ve probably said this a million times in my head every time I blankly stare at a questionnaire during exams. Instead of actually thinking about how to answer, I’ll think about all the time I spent binge-watching on Netflix or scrolling through Instagram. I’ll blame myself for a minute then I’ll pretend like it was “time” itself that was at fault.

The truth is, on most occasions, “not having enough time” is just an excuse I make to take the blame off myself. I know that I am not alone in this; many people struggle with this as well. We all have the time, it really is just a matter of using it well. People always tell me this that it’s almost repetitive at this point, but it is true and I’ve learned it the hard way. During my freshman year, I’ve crammed essays up to the last minute. I’ve taken a physics exam clueless. I’ve gone to sleep at 10 PM (which by the way, is way too early for my usual bedtime) unaware of the looming deadlines the next day. I was a mess and so were my grades.

Since my experiences, I really put a lot of conscious effort to managing my time well to effectively juggle my time for research, academics, student org responsibilities, and my internship. Here are some tips I personally do:

  1. Make a calendar of all your activities

Of course, this is an obvious tip but it is also one that most people struggle with. I find that writing down all deadlines and reminders on a calendar really helps a lot with planning and allocating days for studying and doing research. I also use my smart phone to take note of meetings and due dates so I can set alarms for everything. I need that extra push to have some sense of urgency.

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Recommend: Alamat Dream Board Planner 

As a visual learner, I find this desk planner extremely helpful as it comes with a vision board that I can regularly customize to plot down my daily plans and activities.

           2. Set a “to-do list” for the day and get as much done.

Nothing feels better than crossing something off your to-do list. My personal tip is to really plan your week ahead, each day of the week. Try to do as many of your weekly tasks at the start of the week so that in case you can’t finish them all, you’ll still have time to finish them during the rest of the week. Wouldn’t it feel great to celebrate Fridays without stressing over deadlines? You can finally binge- watch on Netflix without feeling guilty. You deserve it!

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Recommend: Pinto Personalizable Journal

I really like this one because you can put all your reminders on the cover of the journal. 

         3. Think of a reward you can give yourself for accomplishing tasks.

I read an interesting blog post about the psychology of time management. Present-oriented people find it more difficult to do certain tasks because that would mean delaying activities that they enjoy. Whereas future-oriented people understand that delaying gratification can mean better rewards in the future. Future-oriented people are better at planning and managing their time because they always look forward to something they can enjoy without guilt.

Even if you’re not a future-oriented person, you can still pretend like you are one. Just think of a reward you’d give yourself if you accomplish a task days before the deadline (I personally like to treat myself to a milk tea drink). This way, you are finally done with the dreaded essay and you can enjoy your free time drawing or painting without feeling pressured with pending deadlines.

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Product in the picture: Fiesta Traveler’s Notebook 

After accomplishing your tasks, you can draw and paint on the Fiesta Traveler’s Notebook which can carry your planner, pens, and art tools.

            4. Some things are worth more than others.

It always comes to a point when you have 2 exams, 4 deadlines, and 2 meetings scheduled on the same day. No matter how much planning and scheduling you do, there are external factors you just can’t control. When this happens, it’s really important to recognize the value of prioritizing and rescheduling. To efficiently do this, you have to weigh in every single factor. Can this meeting be pushed the next day? Is this exam extremely critical to your passing the subject? If not, then maybe it’s best to focus on other things in the meantime.

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Product in the picture: Pitaka Multicard Pocket Wallet

              5. Don’t forget to rest!

What good does finishing a research paper do when you can’t even get out of bed to submit it on time? Always remember that your physical and mental health will always be more important than your grades or your professor’s appreciation. I know that there’s a lot at stake, but spreading yourself too thin may actually do the opposite of your intended goal. Remember to take deep breaths and quick naps when you find yourself at the brink of extreme exhaustion. You can even take a day off and go on vacation for your peace of mind. It gives you the extra boost to finish everything at once.

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Product in the picture: Artisan II Dual Journal/ Passport Sleeve Journal

 

Why being part of our Jacinto & Lirio team is different! We’re hiring!

Jacinto & Lirio is hiring for a social business manager!

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Our enterprise, EcoIngenuity Inc is now on its 3rd year!

So many things have happened already, and our young team has learned so much in building a business that strives to embody the values of social entrepreneurship. We have been involving volunteers and interns in our work, and they have helped us build our enterprise to where it is now, and for that we are grateful!

In the end, there is still so much more work to be done. But here are 5 reasons why joining our team at this point in time is more exciting and different from before:

1. We’re gearing for bigger growth!

Admittedly, we are still not as big as people think we are. But our goals are still definitely bigger than ever! We have nationwide partnerships with stores outside Metro Manila, (Cebu, Davao, South Luzon, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Bacolod, and soon Boracay). We exported our first shipment to the Middle East early this year and are actively looking forward to partnerships with distributors in US, Australia, UK and Japan.

You will be surprised what a lean team of young entrepreneurs can do to make that happen.

If we can get more passionate and stellar team mates on board to push more excellence in our marketing work, we can even reach more shores, and achieve more sales to channel back to the our community partners.

2. Unique entrepreneurial experience

Just hear from our previous interns on how their experience was with us:  https://jacintoandlirio.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/social-entrepreneurship-advocate/

https://jacintoandlirio.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/a-meaningful-summer-at-jacinto-lirio/

Although we don’t promise a walk in the park (it rarely is!), but we strive to open the eyes of those we work with to the awesome journey of entrepreneurship, as we ourselves learn how to build a business that strives to achieve positive social impact.

3. More mentors involved

We have amazing partnerships brewing with mentors from CBS (Consulting Business Services for Social Enterprises of the Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation), our alma mater Ateneo de Manila University, and partner organizations who have been with us right from the beginning (Philippine Business for Social Progress, Ayala Foundation, etc.)

4. Collaborative Projects

Take part in our upcoming collaborative projects with fellow social enterprises:

Human Heart Nature,

The Dream Project,

MUNI

and (something very exciting for us!)

KIVA.org

5. #LiveYOURStory Campaign

One of the key pillars of our efforts this year is our #LiveYourStory Campaign. It is an advocacy that aims to empower our customers to live the story that they always wanted to live. To create their own story, connect with the stories of others, and empower more people through their stories shared. It roots back to our own experience in Jacinto & Lirio — how we stumbled on this amazing story of the water hyacinth plant (a nusiance that was turned into a material of elegance), that was transformed by community artisans into beautiful products that in turn empower both those who buy it, and those who created it.

We know a lot of people need to live their own stories as well. Being part of our team, will allow you to be part of this movement in getting people to #LiveYourStory! Of course, we are set on embodying this as well, so you will get to LIVE YOUR OWN STORY as you grow with our team.

And if these are not enough, check out this article on what to expect when working with a startup! http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidtao/2013/05/23/innovation-is-required-9-lessons-learned-working-at-a-startup/

Do these interest you enough? If you feel a burning desire to join our team, then send us your CV at contact@jacintoadlirio.com!

We look forward to exploring possibilities with you!

Bea’s Story

Growing up, Bea has always faced uncertainties in her life as she moved from one country to the other. Get to know how she managed to live life amidst the unknown.

Bea’s Story from Jacinto & Lirio on Vimeo.

Bea Pantoja is a beauty blogger and an online editor of Meg Magazine. Get to know more about her work here: http://iammeg.ph/author/beapantoja/