Fish kill at Ennore creek worries fishermen

Forest Dept. takes samples for testing

Published - August 15, 2020 12:15 am IST - CHENNAI

Fish found dead at Ennore creek on Friday.

Fish found dead at Ennore creek on Friday.

As hundreds of fish were found dead in Ennore Creek, a thick stench hung in the air near Nettukuppam in north Chennai on Friday. Fishermen said it was due to hot water discharge from a neighbouring thermal power station.

A. Mathi, president of the Nettukuppam Fishermen Cooperative Society, said that at least one tonne of fish died overnight. “There is no other immediate reason for the deaths. The water is really hot. It has chemicals,” he alleged. The Fisheries department has collected samples for testing, said an official.

Advocate T.K. Ramkumar, who deals with environmental matters, said it was not a one-off occurrence. “Several years ago we had been to the spot to check the water and it was hot enough to have a bath. The death of the fish only meant that the water’s temperature is not within the permissible limits as otherwise fish wouldn’t die in large numbers. The thermal station should either cool the water before letting it into the creek or let it deep into the sea. But that is not happening. The creek’s natural ecosystem has been damaged over the years, with the discharge of fly ash and hot water,” he said.

In a case pertaining to the Ennore creek now before the National Green Tribunal, a expert committee of experts comprising ecologist Sultan Ahmed Ismail, Balaji Narasimhan of IIT Madras and D. Narasimhan, former professor of Botany, Madras Christian College, had submitted a report according to which the leach of heavy metals, including mercury from the fly ash discharge from the thermal stations was found everywhere in the locality, including in fish and plants.

Charge denied

Asked about the charges, a senior official of Tangedco denied that the deaths were due to release of hot water from the thermal plant.

Based on a complaint about dead fish on the creek, the officials checked inspected the cooling water outlet of the North Chennai Thermal Power Station to check water temperature, which was found to be in the range of 32 to 33.30 degree Celsius. It was well within the 45 degree Celsius limit fixed by the TNPCB.

(With inputs from

R. Srikanth)

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