The Ministry of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment’s Department of Pollution Control confirmed on Feb 21 that fish found floating dead in the Nam Ngao sanctuary, Houayxai District, Bokeo Province had resulted from the use of hazardous chemical called “Fenpropathrin”.
“Based on data collected during our field inspection, about 800-1,000 kg of fish have been believed to be killed by Fenpropathin,” said Mr Khamphanh Nanthavong, the director general of the department.
Fenpropathrin, also known as fenopropathrin, is a widely used pyrethroid insecticide in agriculture and household. It was first produced in 1989 and banned by the World Health Organisation in 2016 due to its high toxicity as it can enter human body through skin contact and has a long lasting residual effect.
Though local authorities have warned local people not to eat or sell the dead fish in their village and nearby communities, fish were reportedly sold illegally and cooked by some people.
Since Feb 12, seven people in nearby community Nam Deua village have reportedly developed symptoms like feeling headache, faint and nausea after eating fish brought from the contaminated river.
Relevant authorities have inspected the house of a man suspected of poisoning the river. He reportedly brought an empty chemical bottle to police on the day on which the dead first was first reported.
“We warned them not to eat or sell the dead fish within or outside the area,” said Mr Khamphanh.
“Samples of some contaminated water have been sent to Vientiane Capital for laboratory examination to decide if the water can be used for domestic purposes and we expect that the lab result will be revealed in couple days,” said Mr Khamphanh.
The Nam Ngao sanctuary stretches over 1.5 km with a main part located in Pongnanoun village. It is a protected area where native aquatic species are protected. Most of the dead fish were tilapia, Chinese carp, perch, and Poropuntius- deauratus.
Source: Lao News Agency