Seepage of urea from the fertilizer godowns at Gopalpur port is responsible for the mass death of fish and other marine animals in Ganjam district of Odisha, according to the State fisheries department.
Since June 26, a large number of dead fish and other marine animals have washed up along the fishing jetty adjacent to Gopalpur port. This happened after a few days of continuous rain.
Since Tuesday, a team of the State fisheries department has been conducting an investigation into the mass death. Fisheries department deputy director Siba Prasad Bhoi, who is monitoring the investigation, said the presence of high levels of ammonia in the sea water near the fishing jetty could be the reason behind the mass death.
Seepage of urea
"Seepage of urea from the fertilizer godowns of Gopalpur port near the fishing jetty is the reason behind the rise in ammonia levels at the coast,” Mr Bhoi said.
He has already taken up the matter with the authorities of Gopalpur Ports Limited.
“We found that some asbestos sheets on the roofs of the fertilizer godowns have been damaged. During continuous rain, water seeps from these openings and mixes with urea residue stored there, which later reaches the sea water,” Mr. Bhoi said.
Lack of oxygen
According to Mr Bhoi, when urea mixes with sea water, it increases the ammonia level and drastically reduces the presence of dissolved oxygen in the water. Lack of oxygen for respiration kills the marine animals.
The problem gets aggravated near the fishing jetty for another reason also. The mouth of the channel, which connects the fishing jetty to the sea, is blocked due to sand deposits. Because of this, the water near the fishing jetty is not able to mix with the water from the open sea easily.