Thousands of dead fish were spotted in the Bhopal’s Lower Lake, one of two lakes in the Bhoj wetland, which has been designated a wetland of international importance under the international Ramsar Convention, on Saturday morning.
When HT visited the Lower Lake, it found hundreds of dead fish floating in the water. There were heaps of garbage and floating debris with dead fish on the lake fringe, with a foul smell repelling onlookers.
Though it is not yet clear why the fish have started dying, experts say increased pollution due to the recent immersion of hundreds of idols could have a role to play in the mass death.
Environmentalist Praloy Bagchi said most of the idols were made of plaster of Paris and painted with synthetic colours. “When all this makes its way into an already polluted lake, fish are destined to suffocate.
Authorities have failed to ensure an eco-friendly idol immersion and as a society, we need to think whether we should limit or change our traditions in such a way that they don’t harm life and environment around,” he said. “The Lower Lake has become a gutter and experts need to study how the murky waters were affecting aquatic life in it.”
Experts from the fisheries department pointed out that during cloudy weather, the dissolved oxygen in lake water decreases, which, coupled with other factors like idol immersion, could have contributed in the death of fish.
Joint director fisheries US Tomar said, “Among other factors, the health of fish in water depends on biochemical oxygen demand,” and that low dissolved oxygen primarily results from excessive algae growth.