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India: Ahmedabad civic body monitors oxygen levels in river after thousands of fish die

Web report/Ahmedabad
Filed on June 23, 2021
AFP file photo of a trash skimmer loading up dead fish from the polluted Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad.

Officials attribute deaths to reduced dissolved oxygen levels in the water and weather change.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is monitoring the dissolved oxygen levels in Sabarmati river after thousands of fish were found dead over the weekend. Civic officials have attributed the deaths to the reduced dissolved oxygen levels in the water and weather change including overcast skies.

“The fish are dying due to less amount of dissolved oxygen in the water,” Harpalsinh Zala, the AMC city engineer told the media.

“Whenever the weather is humid and cloudy, the surface oxygen does not get dissolved in the water. We are regularly monitoring these levels in the water and there has been no incident reported after Sunday.”

According to him, oxygen levels can also go down because of less circulation of water. “Since AMC uses water from Narmada canal, water from the Sabarmati is used only for recreational and irrigation purposes, demand for which is low now,” he said.

“Thus, the water is stagnant.”

Incidentally, the tragedy coincided with the publication of a study by the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, establishing the presence of coronavirus in samples from Sabarmati and Kankaria and Chandola lakes between September and December 2020.

The report, which has been widely quoted in social media, led to panic in Ahmedabad with residents fearing the worst.

AMC officials asserted the fish deaths were “a natural annual phenomenon,” and that there is no study corelating transmission of coronavirus through water. Even the WHO has denied it, said a civic official.

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