Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fishes Killed In China due to Ammonia

   Thousands of fish across a 19-mile range on the river of Hubei Province in central China were killed due to pollutants emitted from a local plant. When officials took tests of the water upstream from the Fu River they encountered high levels of ammonia, which is typically used in many fertilizing agents. Officials say that the concentrations they found in the water of ammonia was 196 milligrams per liter, which are extremely high from the 12 milligrams usually found in concentrations of water and about .02 mg in drinking water.  According to the news Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology Company was the one to blame for this disaster, which specialized in producing sodium carbonate and ammonium chloride and was ordered to cease production until investigators found the cause for the leak. The company has had four violations already as of 2008 says Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, which tracks air and water pollution. Mr. Jun says that the authorities take little action against the company and fine them, way too little which is why incidents keep repeating themselves and causing environmental harm. The odd smell in the atmosphere caught many peoples attention on what was going on. 110 tons of fish have died due to this incident. Unfortunately the water was not used as drinking for the communities surrounded by the river but people panicked and bought bottled water because they thought they were drinking contaminated water. Pollution is always a concern in developed countries but luckily the contaminated water in the Fu River didn’t get into the Yangtze, which is China’s longest river and the source of drinking water for millions.
I think that if the company has already had violations against them they should be enforced strictly so incidents in the future don’t occur due to negligence. I believe local fisherman that make a living off selling fish have been impacted severely because of so many fish have died and no one is willing to buy them and the future might not look so sharp either because of the scare. Another problem is that the ammonia levels are so high in the water you don’t know when they might decrease and for what period of time will the fish in the water be safe to eat again. I do believe that all these disasters that have been happening in coastal waters will eventually lead to aquaculture where fish are grown in controlled environment because the numbers are dramatically dropping. Water companies seem to benefit form these kinds of disasters because they see an increase in the demand for water but clean water regardless should freely available to the community in such incidents. The Yangtze was saved from the ammonia, which is a great thing because most of the drinking water in the region comes from there. Official do worry that the Yangtze might one day be affected by pollution because so many occurrences keep happening that can be avoided if companies take proper precautions.
--Daman Singh

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