Thousands of fish die as Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh turns black


Guwahati: Thousands of fish were found floating dead in Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh’s East Kameng district after the water of the river suddenly turned black, triggering panic, officials said on Saturday.

The water of the river turned black due to high content of total dissolved substances (TDS), a district fisheries official said.

Thousands of fish were found dead in the river on Friday at Seppa, the district headquarters, District Fisheries Development Officer (DFDO) Hali Tajo said.

According to preliminary findings, the cause of the deaths is large presence of TDS, which creates low visibility and breathing issues for aquatic species, in the water, he added.

“As the river water contains high TDS, the fish were unable to inhale oxygen,” Tajo said.

The TDS in the river was 6,800 mg per liter, much higher than the normal range of 300-1,200 mg per liter, he said, quoting a report.

Tajo appealed to the people not to consume the fish as it may cause serious health issues.

The East Kameng district administration issued an advisory, asking people to avoid venturing near the Kameng river to catch fish, and not to consume and sell the dead fish till further order.

Residents of Seppa blamed China for the rise in the TDS in the river, alleging that the colour of the water turned black due to construction activities by the neighbouring country.

Seppa East MLA Tapuk Taku appealed to the state government to immediately constitute a committee of experts to ascertain the cause behind the abrupt change in the colour of the Kameng river’s water and the death of a large quantity of fish.

Expressing concern, Taku said this incident never happened in the Kameng river.

“If it continues for more than a few days, the aquatic life from the river will be totally eliminated,” he said, adding that the sudden change in the colour of the water might be due to a huge landslide in the upper belt of the district.

“There may be other reasons as well. The state government should immediately constitute a fact-finding committee to study the situation at the earliest,” he said.

The Siang river at Pasighat in East Siang district turned black in November 2017.

The then Congress MP from Arunachal East Ninong Ering wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention, claiming that it was the result of the construction of a 10,000-km-long tunnel in China, which diverted water from Siang to Xinjiang province in the Taklamakan desert.

China had denied the allegation.