On September 2, the Municipal Government of Wuhan issued an urgent report informing residents a large number of dead fish were seen in the Fu River. They notified residents not to drink or use the water, and not to go fishing or eat any of the fish from the river. Shiny white fish could be seen floating on the surface of the water, emitting a piercing stench, with swarms of flies gathering to the decaying bodies of fish. It’s estimated about 200 000 lbs of fish were seen floating along a stretch of 30 km.
Cause of death
The cause of the dead fish was confirmed by the Hubei Environmental Protection Department and a few other groups saying this was linked to water pollution. Organic substances and heavy metals tests were conducted on water samples, and preliminary reports indicate the concentrations of ammonia and nitrogen were the main causes of death. The tests showed the concentrations of ammonia and nitrogen severely exceeded the standards set out by the government, and some tests showed the levels of ammonia to exceed the allowable limits by 115 times.
A nearby chemical company producing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), ammonium chloride, industrial salt, table salt and many other goods was regarded as one of the main causes of polluting the Fu River. The company has currently been forced to cease operations, as the government continues to proceed with further investigations and follow appropriate legal procedures to handle the issue.
Pollution gradually increased for years
The dead fish mirrors an underlying problem that has been building up for a number of years. Pollution originating from corporations on the coast has contributed to contaminating the water. Many corporations around Hubei province have been slowly polluting the waterways, and the government has not adopted effective measures to deal with the situation. The slow decay of the ecological environment has had the strongest impact on small cities and villages as these areas do not have systems in place to filter and process water. In addition, a drought has decreased the water level in the river, further damaging the sustainability of the living environment.
Picture reference: news.163.com