Home Bangladesh Karnaphuli River becomes hell for fish, aquatic species
Bangladesh - Health - March 7, 2024

Karnaphuli River becomes hell for fish, aquatic species

Fire at S Alam Sugar Mills

Chattogram Correspondent : A severe environmental crisis has emerged in Chattogram’s Karnaphuli River as burnt sugar waste from S Alam Sugar Mill has contaminated the river’s water, resulting a mass deaths of various aquatic species, including fish and crabs.
Locals have been witnessing the mass deaths of these aquatic animals since Tuesday morning. More than hundreds of locals gathered on the both sides of the river to collect fishes and crabs.
Experts said the level of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in the river water has dropped due to the waste from the burnt raw sugar and that’s the reason why many fishes and other aquatic species are dying and some others are floating in the surface. The river has been largely devoid of large fish for the past decade due to pollution over the years. The few species of small fish that survive in the river are also at risk of extinction because of the chemical pollution.

A warehouse of S Alam Sugar Mill is used to store refined sugar while the four others are used for crude sugar, a compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

Around 400,000 tonnes of raw sugar were stored in four warehouses owned by the company, including 100,000 tonnes in the one that burnt, an S Alam Group official said.

Kamrul Alam, chief chemist of Chattogram Environment Department office, said, “The authorities collected samples of water and sent them to a laboratory for a test on Tuesday. Initial test showed the oxygen level in water fell from 5 ppm to 1 ppm. The sugar burnt into carbon dioxide and fell into the water in liquid form.”

“The S Alam Group is trying to stop the liquid from flowing into the river alongside the sand. A team from the environment office also launched efforts to identify the quality of water,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shrivas Chandra Chand, District Fisheries Officer, said they hoped that the tide would restore the normal water quality.

The amount of chemicals in the river bed is expected to reduce when the tide comes in and the situation will return to normal then, he said.

Earlier, a fire broke out atS Alam Sugar Mills in Karnaphuli upazila of Chattogram district around 4pm on Monday.

The fire could not be fully extinguished despite efforts made since it started. The warehouse was seen burning even on Wednesday afternoon.

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