Wastes kill Korotoa River fishes
14 March 2015, Nirapad News: Several hundred mounds of fishes of different species in the Korotoa River have died after the release of toxic wastes from Panchagarh Sugar Mills Ltd.
Local fishermen said untreated waste materials were released in the river after the mill was closed on March 9, turning the water black and producing a foul smell.
The toxic substances killed fishes of several sanctuaries set up in a 25 km stretch from Panchagarh to Boalmari in the river.
For around four hours starting from 8am yesterday, hundreds of people from nearby areas collected the dead fishes, including boal and grass carp, that surfaced in the water.
The sugar mill machinery were cleaned with caustic soda and the wastes were released in the river late on Thursday night, fishermen said.
They also feared that there would be an acute shortage of fishes of local species in the current season and there would be no breeding as toxic wastes killed the fishes.
Boda Upazila Nirbahi Officer Abu Awal, Fisheries Officer Moksedur Rahman and several other officials visited the scene and a local fisheries association said it would demand compensation from the deputy commissioner. Moksedur Rahman said the deaths of fishes had led to losses of more than Tk1 crore.
The upazila nirbahi officer said instructions had been given to local officials to take effective measures for containing the contamination of water and to protect the living fishes.
“Union parishad chairmen of Benghari Banagram and Kaliaganj have been allocated Tk50,000 each for taking necessary steps,” he added. But Managing Director of Panchagarh Sugar Mills Ltd, SM Abdur Rashid, denied that toxic wastes had killed the fishes.
“Wastes from the mill are drained into the river but those contain no toxic chemicals,” he observed.