Oil spill spread to Halda, South Asia's big natural breeding sanctuary of carp fishes

Oil spill spread to Halda, South Asia’s big natural breeding sanctuary of carp fishes


Oil from the tank wagons that sank in a canal at Boalkhali in Chittagong has spread to Halda River, which is one of the South Asia’s biggest natural breeding sanctuaries of carp fishes.The Department of Environment (DoE) and the Department of Fisheries (DoF) in Chittagong removed grass and water hyacinths mixed with oil from Madunghat, Machhuyaghona and Napiter Ghona areas of Halda on Monday. Witnesses said they had seen the presence of furnace oil in Karnaphuli and Halda rivers since Saturday.
A visit to the scene revealed grass and plants in the bank of Halda were covered with black oil in Madunghat and Kalurghat areas.Experts said the oil slick may disrupt breeding of fishes even though rains reduced the fear of economic losses.Two wagons of a train, full of oil, fell off the bridge 24 between Gomdandi and Dhalghat at Boalkhali last Friday.Railway officials say the bridge was identified as ‘risky’ nine years ago.Eight wagons of furnace oil were headed for the 100-megawatt peaking power plant at Dohazari from Chittagong.Railway officials estimate some 50,000 litres oil spilled into the water of the canal.An expert on Halda, Chittagong University Zoology Professor Monjurul Kibria told bdnews24.com the oil spread to Karnaphuli from Boalkhali canal due to the tide.
“The oil spread to Halda in the upstream of Karnaphuli due to high tide.”The district’s Fisheries Officer Prabhati Deb said the furnace oil spread up to Machhuyaghona area of Halda.“We are working to stop the oil rolling into Halda again during high tide.”DoE’s Regional Director (Chittagong) Md Makbul Hossain said oil had been spreading to Halda since Saturday.“We were worried since it’s the season of egg hatching in Halda.”He said a portion of spilled oil spread to the Bay of Bengal.Oil does not remain harmful when mixed with salt, according to him.Kibria said the harm could be reduced if 70 percent of oil was removed but the scope was lost.“Halda is already under threat due to rubber dam and industrial wastes. Oil pollution will affect fertility of the mother fishes.”
In 2013, furnace oil spread to Karnaphuli after a similar accident at Kalurghat.


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