Fish kill in Kerala: Sub collector’s report blames PCB for failure to identify real factors

The preliminary report, by Fort Kochi Sub Collector K Meera, has recommended a detailed investigation into the issue.
Kochi’s Edayar witnesses massive fish kill following river pollution due to chemical discharge from industries nearby.
Kochi’s Edayar witnesses massive fish kill following river pollution due to chemical discharge from industries nearby.Photo | TP Sooraj

KOCHI: The Ernakulam district administration on Monday submitted the preliminary investigation report on the massive fish kill in the Periyar, which refuted the findings of the Pollution Control Board (PCB), to the state government.

Submitted to the chief secretary and the fisheries secretary, the report blamed PCB for failing to identify the actual factors behind the death of fish in the Periyar at Pathalam on May 20. The preliminary report, prepared by Fort Kochi Sub Collector K Meera, has recommended a detailed investigation into the issue, in which PCB and the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) had contrasting findings. The report also suggested bringing in a monitoring system involving the fishermen. The sub collector had visited the spot and met with fish farmers, local residents, and environmental activists.

Earlier, PCB had claimed that the fish kill resulted from the depletion of oxygen in the Periyar, whereas Kufos said the high concentration of ammonia and hydrogen sulphide in the river led to the massive fish kill. The university also sought permission from the government to conduct a detailed study on the fish diversity in the Periyar and the impact of pollution on native species.

In its report, PCB said the dissolved oxygen-level in the river was dangerously low on May 20, and it has improved in the subsequent days. The PCB report did not mention the chemical waste dumped into the Periyar by industrial establishments.

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