Paradip: A stretch of Paradip’s Bata river flowing near Balijhara is witnessing mass fish deaths again. A large number of dead fish are floating on the river giving out foul smell and creating an unhygienic environment in surrounding villages and colonies, said a local resident Anata Jena. In the morning the number of dead fish was fewer, but it eventually grew towards noon, he added. Kou, Mullet, Kantia, and Magur varieties are among the dead fish found on the river.
After the news spread, Twinkle Mohanty from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) rushed to the spot and collected samples. According to the initial testing results, this has happened as a result of reduced oxygen (dissolved oxygen) levels in the river water.
For further testing, dead fish and water samples will be sent to a lab in Bhubaneswar. According to a local official Pushkar Chandra Behera, the cause of the fish die-off will come to the fore once the report arrives. Bata river originates in Paradip’s Udayabata and flows through Udayachandrapur, Balijhara, and further before meeting Koudia River.
On either side of this river, there are several urban and industrial areas. As a result, the river has become narrow and is in a very critical condition. Reservoirs close to Balijhara and Bijaychandrapur are used to store water. Polluted water from drains and other kinds of garbage from urban areas are all dumped in this water.
Apart from that, the river is full of ‘Kolikati dala’ or algae. The algae overgrowth or algal bloom consumes oxygen and as a result, lack of oxygen makes it impossible for aquatic life to survive. The board informed that due to this reason, the oxygen level has depleted leading to the fish kill. According to sources, this river has been witnessing mass fish deaths every year in July and August since 2016. This year, fish are dying even in winter. One can easily guess the pollution levels in Paradip from this incident, said environmentalist Prabhat Chadra Swain.
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