Narrow escape after aquatic weeds smash through bamboo bridge

NewsflarePublished: October 17, 201712 views
Published: October 17, 2017

The growing menace of aquatic weeds was brought home dramatically in the Indian state of West Bengal a few months ago.

People crossing a makeshift bamboo bridge over the Rupnarayan River had a narrow escape when a colony of water hyacinth smashed through it.

The mishap severed link between Jashar in East Purba Medinipur and Sibara in West Medinipur.

The hyacinths, which usually quietly pass underneath, draw onlookers who like to enjoy the sight of the green leaves brushing against the bridge.

A video from the spot shows people scampering for their safety after seeing the weeds possibly alerted by the sheer size of the colony and the force of the current.

Anita Richards, a disaster management professional, said the mishap underlined the government’s inability to maintain the makeshift bamboo structures, which are commonly found in East India.

“Governments have failed to replace traditional bamboo bridges with permanent structures. They do not even do any periodic maintenance on them,” she said.

Local residents say governments have also failed to control aquatic weeds which have been growing unchecked, clogging waterways and choking fishing and farming.

Though large colonies of aquatic weeds can be spotted floating on Indian rivers, it is the first time any of them have been caught on camera bringing down a bridge and endangering lives.

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