Thousands of fish die in Arunachal’s Kameng River after water turns black


Death of fish in Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh has continued for the past four-five days after water of the river turned black following landslides into the river, officials said on Monday.

“After getting reports of fish death in large numbers, we have promulgated 144 CrPC prohibiting the people not to venture into the river,” East Kameng District Deputy Commissioner Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla told IANS over phone from the district headquarters Seppa.

Referring to the preliminary study of the satellite imagery he said that it is not related to pollution, it might be a natural calamity.

“Huge mudslide accompanied by tree debris, triggered by landslides plunged on the river’s upper stream causing low dissolved oxygen level in the river water leading to the deaths of fish and other aquatic animals in large quantities.

After testing the water samples it was found that there is high content of Total Dissolved Substances (TDS) causing low visibility and breathing problems for aquatic species resulting in the death of thousands of fish,” the DC said.

He said that to ascertain more accurate reasons for the death of the fish, he has written to the state government to obtain more satellite imageries, conducting aerial surveys and deployment of the experts of the Remote Sensing Agency to do the study.

Polumatla said that to avoid food poisoning or any other health issue, restrictions were imposed on the sale and consumption of fish from the Kameng River for two weeks. Police personnel are patrolling along the river banks and all concerned authorities have requested the local people not to venture into the river and remained alert till the situation improved.

The pristine Kameng River originates in the northeastern state’s East Kameng district which shares borders with China.

According to an official of the Fishery Department, the TDS in the river water was found to be 6,800 mg per liter against the normal range of 300-1,200 mg per liter. Town Magistrate of East Kameng District, Seppa, Pooza Sonam also issued an advisory saying that venturing into the river may cause risk to human life and situation may further create chaos amongst the public. “Not to venture into the river for catching the fish floating down, the reason is yet to be ascertained, not to sell fish in the market till further order and not to consume until it is safe for consumption,” the advisory said.

It said: “Whoever visits the river and consume fish in violation of the advisory shall be at his or her own risk and District Administration shall not be responsible for any untoward incidents caused due to this.”

According to the local media report, the villagers of Seppa blamed China for the increase of the TDS level in the river claiming that the normal colour of the water turned black because of the construction activities by the neighbouring country.

Seppa East MLA Tapuk Taku urged the state government to constitute an expert group to determine the cause behind the sudden change in the colour of the water of the vital river and the death of thousands of fish.

Expressing his concern, the legislator said that if the situation continued for more days, the aquatic life from the river would likely be eliminated to a great extent.