Hundreds of fish have died in an irrigation canal near Dadha village in Greater Noida. Residents say they noticed it after a foul smell permeated the adjoining area.
According to residents, they saw dead fish floating in the water about three days ago. Since then, the number has continued to increase, raising concerns about the quality of water and possible health issues in neighbouring areas.
“For the past three days, the area has been smelling really bad. That is when we noticed the dead fish floating in the canal. This water is usually clean. Its level also remains high, but lowers during peak summer,” Ramveer, a resident of Dadha village, said.
He said that most of the fresh water provided by the irrigation department for the farmers’ use would fill the canal just before the point where the fish were found dead. During summer, he added, fresh water did not usually reach this point, causing the water beyond it to stagnate and the fish to thrive.
He alleged that recently some sewer lines had been connected to the canal beyond this point, and he was not sure of their legality.
Officials have speculated that the increased temperature and reduced water level may have led to the fish dying. However, villagers want the canal water tested to be sure that the irrigation water being used in farms is not toxic.
“We are writing to the forest and irrigation department to check the toxicity of water. If it is contaminated, it may have affected groundwater and will be unsafe for consumption or to be used in fields,” Vikrant Tongad, environmental conservationist from Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), said.
According to officials, the irrigation water usually does not reach the point where the fish have been found dead, unless there is excess of it. The possibility of excess water during summer is rare, they said.
“There is barely enough water for the farmers now. We do not let the water overflow unless there is an excess supply,” an irrigation department official, said.
Meanwhile, administration officials said they would take up the matter.
“This is an ecologically sensitive issue and it is difficult to say, off hand, what may have caused the phenomenon. We will look into the matter and see what needs to be the done. The cleaning of the area will be done on priority,” additional district magistrate Kumar Vineet said.
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