Fish farmers of Kochi up in arms against mass fish deaths due to river pollution

They claim that illegal discharge of chemical waste from nearby factories was to blame for the incident.
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 08:30 IST
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 08:30 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kochi in Kerala on Wednesday witnessed scores of fish farmers marching to the office of the Pollution Control Board (PCB) with dead fishes to protest against the mass killing of fishes in their farms allegedly owing to pollution of the Periyar river.

Agitated farmers threw dead fishes to the compound of the PCB accusing the officials of lapses in checking the pollution of the river.

Unchecked flow of effluent from the nearby industries was suspected to have led to the death of fishes in large numbers. Fishes in around 150 cage farms along the Periyar river were found dead from Monday night onwards. Many farms were due for farming and hence the total loss could be several crores, the agitated farmers said.

Local fish farmers, particularly those involved in cage farming, reported significant losses amounting to several lakhs due to the mass fish deaths.

The dead fish were found in large numbers in fish farms across panchayats such as Varapuzha, Kadamakkudy, and Cheranalloor near here since Tuesday.

A preliminary examination of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) found that the oxygen level in the water was very low. A team of KUFOS is conducting a detailed examination.

PCB environmental engineer Sajeesh Joy told reporters that the reasons for pollution were being examined. Parameters have been set for each industry on the effluent discharge to the river and there are flow metres too. There is also an online monitoring mechanism.

Earlier, the District Collector N S K Umesh had ordered the state Pollution Control Board to urgently investigate the cause of the fish deaths. Subsequently, the Pollution Control Board officials collected samples of the water and the dead fish from the incident site and sent them to the KUFOS lab for a detailed examination.

The government is likely to announce compensation to the fish farmers.

The authorities are also vigilant against chances of selling the dead fishes from the polluted river in the open market.

In addition, the government has formed a special committee under the aegis of Fort Kochi Sub-Collector to study the developments and submit a report in this regard within a week.

State Industries Minister P Rajeeve said on Wednesday that all necessary steps have been taken in this regard to address the concerns of local people.

(With PTI inputs)

Published 22 May 2024, 08:30 IST

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