Tens of thousands of fish have died on the upstream part of Ho Chi Minh City’s major canal Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe this week as officials said the first rains of the season pushed sewage into it.
Fish started dying on Monday night and were seen belly up all over the part of the canal as of Tuesday afternoon.
The city’s environment workers have collected several dozen tons of them, most of which are carp and tilapia.
It was the first time fish in the canal die in mass, first time since it was cleaned up several years ago and since the city released fish fry to revive the canal’s biodiversity.
Nguyen Huynh Ngoc Dat, a man living near the canal, said that “dead fish painted the part of the canal white on Tuesday morning and caused a heavy stink.”
Tran Van Son from the city’s agriculture department said the fish died of pollution.
Son said the upstream part of the canal, which runs through Districts 3, Tan Binh and Phu Nhuan, is not connected to any natural waterways but many sewage pipes.
Rains the past days have carried waste stored in the pipes during the dry season into the canal, he said.
The canal is designed with its own waste treatment system, but the waste must have been too much, he said, adding that a lot of fish also died during the start of previous monsoons.
Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe runs roughly eight kilometers through seven districts in Ho Chi Minh City.
The city spent around a decade and more than US$390 million, including funding from the World Bank, to bring it back from a stinky, dirty canal several years ago.