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Fish kill in Huayxai attributed to hazardous chemicals

Lao authorities confirmed that fish found floating dead in the Nam Ngao river in Huayxai district, Bokeo province died as a result of poisonous chemicals contaminating the river.

Officials confirmed the findings after samples of the dead fish were brought for analysis last week.

The specific chemical groups found included Organophosphate, Carbamate, Organochlorine and Pyrethroid, according to the inspection results of the Plant Protection Centre of the Agriculture Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Department of Pollution Control under Ministry of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also detected similar hazardous chemicals including Fenpropathrin, the Lao News Agency reported.

Fenpropathrin is a widely used pyrethroid insecticide in agriculture and households.

It was first produced in 1989 and banned by the World Health Organisation in 2016 due to its high toxicity as it can enter the human body through skin contact and has a long lasting residual effect.

Authorities advised local people not to eat or sell any dead fish they found in the area.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry also confirmed that samples of dead fish that were brought for analysis in Vientiane did not have any diseases.

Most of the dead fish were tilapia, Chinese carp, perch and poropuntius deauratus.

This is the second time that Huayxai district has experienced a large fish kill with a similar incident occurring on the Toy River in Thibounthong village, an official at the District Agriculture and Forestry Office, Mr Khanthong Sisengphet told Vientiane Times recently .

He said that the Ngao protected river is seven kilometres long, and flows through three villages including Poungnanoun before linking up with the Mekong River.

Currently around six or seven Chinese companies are operating banana plantation businesses in the district, the Head of the Huayxai district office, Mr Souvat Phengphachanh said.

After the large numbers of dead fish found along the Nam Ngao in this instance, the provincial governor invited the relevant sectors and the companies' management to discuss and consult on how to protect the river from contamination.

At the meeting, the provincial governor stressed that all relevant sectors should enforce the regulations strictly and take responsibility in inspecting the imports of hazardous chemicals which have been banned by the government.

He also advised company leaders not to use chemicals in excess of accepted standards on their banana farms and to try to protect their farms without hazardous chemicals.

Also, the companies will not be allowed to expand to more farms within the province, the provincial governor added.

Authorities in different provinces have ordered a stop to banana farming expansion do to the impacts on the environment and local people's health.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
February 23,

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