Dead fish leave behind foul stink around Kamal Pokhari

  • Experts blame the carnage on low oxygen level in the pond, extreme cold
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Jan 26, 2018-

Rarely do waters get so cold in the Capital that a massive amount of fish dies all at one time, but that’s just what happened this week in Kamal Pokhari.

A few dead fish started bellying up last Friday but the number swelled up so dramatically that by Wednesday water was barely visible, according to locals. And soon, residents around the pond and passers-by caught a whiff of a foul, rancid smell of dead fish.

Experts blamed the mass death of fish, both native and those brought in from Rani Pokhari a year ago, on the decreased water level in the pond causing a drop in oxygen level and chilly condition. In December 2016, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) had relocated over 2,000 cat fish to Kamal Pokhari from Rani Pokhari following a decision to clean the quake-dagamed historic pond for its restoration. The remaining fish were shifted to Balaju Baisdhara Park. While catfish brought in from Rani Pokhari were dominant in numbers, the pond has been home to a few other species like carp and gold fish.   

Rahul Ranjan, a researcher at the Agriculture and Forestry University in Rampur, said fish are vulnerable in winter. “Basically, they die due to low levels of oxygen when the water level in the pond goes down,” he said. 

Officials at the Kamal Pokhari Conservation Committee (KPCC) said the water level in the pond had been decreasing for the past three months. “The water level in the pond has gone down below a foot now. The number of fish had increased drastically in the past one year following the relocation. The overcrowding of fish in the receded water might be the chief cause,” said Rajendra Singh, general secretary of the KPSS.

However, locals suspect the fish could have died because of some poisonous chemicals drained into the pond.

The KPSS has been pumping in water from nearby Shree Kamal Basic School to raise the water level in the pond. But it is too little too late, say the local people. “If only the KPSS and KMC had replenished water in the pond earlier, we would not have to witness this carnage,” said Ram Bahadur Tamang, a local. “To see it from the street just doesn’t really do justice to how disgusting it is.”

The pond, which used to draw a lot of visitors, has lost its charm since this incident unfolded over the week. “We can’t even get close to the pond now because of the foul smell,” said one regular visitor. 

While local youths, club members and students from Shree Kamal School have been using boats to remove the dead fish from the pond, but it would take them a while to clean up and get rid of the stench.

Published: 26-01-2018 07:55

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