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Thousands of dead fish found floating in Ganga, experts blame toxic effluents

Reports reaching here suggested that dead fish were first seen floating in the river’s Kannauj stretch, after which the phenomenon was witnessed in Unnao and Bilhaur.

lucknow Updated: May 15, 2018 14:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kanpur
Dead fish,Ganga,Toxic effluents
A child picks up a dead fish that washed up on the banks of the Ganga on Monday. (HT Photo)

Thousands of dead fish were found floating in the Ganga over the last 24 hours, officials said on Monday. This is the fourth time such an incident has occurred in as many years.

Reports reaching here suggested that dead fish were first seen floating in the Kannauj stretch, after which the phenomenon was witnessed in Unnao and Bilhaur. Confirming the fish deaths, Kannauj district magistrate Ravindra Kumar said he visited the site along with a team of experts from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the National Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun. “The team members took samples of the dead fish as well as the water. We will get to know the exact reason for their deaths by the weekend,” he added.

Kumar said effluents from industrial units in Shahjahanpur were prima facie suspected of discharging toxic material downstream, poisoning the river water. Officials in Kannauj and Unnao also collected water samples from various places to determine the cause of fish deaths.

UPPCB officials suspect the presence of a poisonous substance in the Garra river, which originates from Shahjahanpur and merges with the Ganga in Kannauj. “Our teams are collecting water samples. An analysis will clarify if there was any deliberate attempt to poison the water or anything else, but one thing is for sure – it has something that’s killing the fish,” said Kuldip Mishra, regional officer of the board.

The Kannauj district administration has deployed panchayat employees to clear the river of dead fish around Mehdi ghat after reports suggested that local residents were collecting them for consumption. (HT Photo)

The fish were found dead in a radius of five kilometres in Kannauj and four kilometres in Unnao, officials said. A number of pesticide units operating on the banks of the Garra and Ganga rivers allegedly release toxic effluents into the water.

Bangarmau sub-divisional magistrate Pradeep Kumar, who is monitoring the situation in Unnao, said the colour of water seems to have changed near Nanamau. “The water flowing from Kannauj seems to have had something that killed the fish; the problem is upstream,” he added.

In Kannauj, the district administration deployed panchayat employees to clear the river of dead fish around Mehdi ghat. People throng the ghat for rituals and a holy dip on auspicious occasions. The step was taken after reports suggested that local residents were collecting dead fish for consumption.

Health department officials have warned that consumption of these fish could cause diarrhoea, gastro and liver disorders, said Unnao (city) additional district magistrate BN Yadav.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: May 15, 2018 12:40 IST