Freshwater fish found dead in Thanh Hoa river

By Le Hoang   May 5, 2016 | 02:10 pm GMT+7

While there are still no answers for the mysterious mass fish deaths along the central coast, several dead fish have now been found dead in the Buoi River in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

Local residents in Thach Lam commune discovered the dead fish floating in the river on May 4, and said the water had turned a muddy blue color and started to smell.

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Some dead fish have become decayed. Photo by Lam Son

Hundreds of households who use water from the river are worried about incident. Many have tried to collect the dead fish to prevent the pollution from spreading further. “It is possible the river has been heavily polluted. We suspect that factories upstream have discharged unsafe waste into the river,” said Bui Cong Toan, a local resident. He added that locals in four villages in the commune have collected hundreds of kilograms of dead fish in recent days, but have not dare to eat them and instead fed them to animals or disposed of them.

Le Huy Duong, chairman of the Thach Lam People’s Committee, said about 60 percent of households in the four villages have been affected as they often use water from the river for everyday purposes. Local authorities have asked residents not to eat the dead fish and avoid using water from the river until further notice.

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Local residents collect dead fish. Photo by Lam Son

In December 2013, water from the river in the Thach Lam commune turned black and smelly, and tons of dead fish were collected by locals. Thanh Hoa’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment concluded that the incident was caused by wastewater from the Hoa Binh cassava processing plant in Hoa Binh province. Representatives from the plant later said that the wastewater drain was broken, leading to the release of around 120,000 cubic meters of untreated wastewater into the river.

Since early April, about 70 tons of fish have washed up dead in the central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien - Hue. On April 27, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said there are two possible reasons for the mass fish deaths.

One is toxic chemicals released by human activities. The other is an abnormal natural phenomenon that causes algae in the water to bloom at an accelerated rate, commonly known as a “red tide”.