Hanoi authorities look for cause behind West Lake catastrophe

October 03, 2016 | 16:52
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After the sudden wave of death among the fish population of West Lake, Hanoi authorities are awaiting the test results of the water samples.

Do Anh Tuan, chairman of the People’s Committee of Tay Ho District, told local media a possible reason is the lack of oxygen in the lake’s water.

“A quick test of the water samples taken from areas where a lot of fish died showed that the water near the surface was severely lacking oxygen. The lack of oxygen may be the reason for the phenomenon and it was in turn caused by the changing seasons,” he said.

Pham Van Dong, deputy general manager of West Lake Investment and Exploitation One-member Company Ltd., offered another possible explanation.

According to Dong, five days ago workers cleaning the lake reported that the water turned opaque in some areas. After the rain on September 30, this pigmentation spread wider. Then, on October 1, the fish started dying. “It could be algae,” he told newspaper An Ninh Thu Do. “It turned the water in some areas toxic to the fish.”

Since October 1, fish have been dying en masse in West Lake, rising to the surface of the lake, along the border of Trich Sai, Nguyen Dinh Thi, and other streets, causing a stench and prompting complaints from residents. The Hanoi People’s Committee estimated that over 10 tonnes fish have died so far, most of which are of surface-dwelling varieties.

According to the West Lake Management Board, each day about 4,000 cubic metres of untreated wastewater from restaurants and people around the lake is dumped into the lake. A recent test showed that the water contains three times the allowed volume of ammoniac.

West Lake, in Tay Ho district to the west of Hanoi, is one of the landmarks of the city, ranking shoulder-to-shoulder with Hoan Kiem Lake. Three of the most renowned hotels of the city overlook the lake, with Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi Hotel being right on top of it, while Sheraton Hanoi Hotel and Pan Pacific Hanoi Hotel tower along the shore.

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By By Ha Duy

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