Sun, Jul 26, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Pesticide spill may have killed 300kg of fish in Taipei

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei City Councilor Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said yesterday that because of a delayed response by the Taipei City Government, people who fished in one of the city’s creeks may have eaten fish that were contaminated with pesticides.

“Earlier this month, thousands of fish went belly-up in the Shuangxi (雙溪), but nobody knew why … After investigations, the city’s Department of Health found that it was because large amounts of extremely toxic pesticides had washed into the river,” Chuang said.

Chuang lambasted the city government for not immediately warning people that the water in a popular fishing spot had been contaminated.

On July 5, about 300kg of dead fish were found floating in the Shilin District creek.

“On July 4, there was a fire at a Shuangxi Park administration warehouse, which is located at the riverbank. The warehouse contained a three-to-six-month supply of pesticides,” he said.

Chuang said that when the fire occurred, the park administration failed to inform firefighters of the content of the warehouse. As a result, a lot of the substances washed into the river when they were putting the blaze out.

“My voters came and told me that the river smelled very foul, but they didn’t know what caused the smell,” he said.

In response, deputy director of the Shuangxi Park Administration Hsu Tien-chou (?w) said that toxin levels in the pesticides would have been reduced by the fire.

However, city Department of Health specialist Hu Shu-fang (胡淑芳) said that before the reason for the fish deaths was confirmed, people were advised against eating fish caught from the river.

Liao Chia-lung (廖家龍), section chief of the city’s Water Conservation Agency, said the city would set up announcement boards along the riverbank to inform park visitors of the incident.

“We will tell fishers that while it is alright to fish, the fish are not suitable for consumption,” Liao said.

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