TAIPEI – A prolonged heat wave in Taiwan has killed large quantities of fish in the Keelung river passing through Taiwan’s capital Taipei, with clean up work by municipal workers ongoing on Wednesday.
Local people say that they have never seen so many dead fish floating on the river, and authorities are investigating the cause, but the Taipei City Government says the cause is probably the ongoing heat wave.
Dead fish began to float on the Keelung River, in a section near the Shezi Island on the outskirts of Taipei, several days ago. By Monday, dead fish were seen for several kilometers along one side of the Keelung River and the stink of decomposition filled the air.
The Taipei Department of Environmental Protection began cleaning up the dead fish on Sunday while probing the cause of the fish death. It has ruled out industrial pollution by factories because only one kind of fish, the flathead grey mullet, has died.
If a factory had released hazardous waste water into the river, other species of fish should also be affected.
Therefore the department believes that the prolonged heat wave is to blame.
Taipei has suffered 16 consecutive days of hot weather, with temperatures reaching 36-degree Celsius for the first time in 120 years. Lack of oxygen in the river could have caused the death of the fish.
Large patches of dead fish are still seen floating along one side of the Keelung River, stretching for several kilometers. Some of the plump fish lie on the river banks, beginning to rot.
One environmental protection worker said that this is the first time he has seen so many dead fish on the river. “It is horrible. It is too smelly,” he said, admitting that it will take days to remove all the dead fish from the river.