Thousands of dead fish in Yamuna near Agra

September 18th, 2009 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

Agra, Sep 18 (IANS) Just behind the Taj Mahal, thousands of dead fish have been floating down the Yamuna river here for the past three days. Residents have been gathering the dead fish and eating them, and there were reports Friday of some people falling ill because at least some of the fish may be carrying pollutants.
As hundreds of curious onlookers gather at the banks to enjoy the rare spectacle of the Yamuna in spate after the recent rains, informal fish markets have come up at several points.

“Nobody knows where they come from and why they are dead but the locals have never had such a good time,” said Surendra Singh of Nagla Devjeet, a village on the riverbank on the outskirts of Agra.

Government officials confirmed that there have been dead fish floating down the river, but declined to comment on reports that some people had fallen ill after eating them.

Environmentalist Ravi Singh said: “These fish could have died of oxygen shortage. The muddy waters of the Yamuna, heavily polluted with industrial effluents, could have suffocated the fish. We have seen fish dying without water. In this case they are dying of a surfeit of muddy water.”

In the past few years there have been several occasions when thousands of fish have died of polluted water and lack of oxygen during the summer months. But fish dying in a flood is a new phenomenon, according to a resident of Yamuna Kinara Road, Nandan Shrotriya.

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