Dead fishes on Niger Delta coastline linked to toxic waste
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency on Thursday May 14, revealed its findings following investigations carried out after dead fishes were found along the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline.
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The agency stated that the dead fishes found along the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline indicated high level of toxicity caused by wastes discharge which might have come from domestic and industrial sources often emptied into the water body.
Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA said the findings did not show hydrocarbons (oil) as the possible cause of the death of the fishes.
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“The results of the laboratory tests were perused, and we make explanation on the parameters of concerns that were analysed for the purpose of clarity and understanding.
“As earlier mentioned, the findings did not show hydrocarbons (oil) as the possible cause of the death of the fishes.
“In the course of the analyses, Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon, Benzene, Toluene Ethylene and Xylene were within regulatory standard limits in water, sediments and fish tissue analyses.
“However, there were some heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium copper, zinc and iron that exceeded regulatory standard limits in the coastlines of the three states – Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers.
“In this case, while it is commonly observed that most industrial and domestic wastes which contain heavy metals such as cadmium, iron, zinc, copper found their ways into drainages and onward transfer to the water bodies.
“Their deleterious impact may be negative to aquatic species, other mammals and human beings. The main sources of these are batteries, galvanised pipes, fertilisers, sewage sludge and plastics.
“Such may be the case in the analyses of dead fishes found at the coastline in Delta and Bayelsa where chromium was found in fish tissue.
“Copper was also found in the fish tissue sampled in Delta State but not in those of Bayelsa and Rivers State.
“Furthermore, a sudden release of heavy metals is not likely to kill fishes except those trapped at the point of release because cadmium, in particular, is highly toxic.
“Long term accumulation (chronic) rather than short term (acute) heavy metals could cause the death of fishes. It is also curious that a specific species of fish is allegedly involved in the circumstance under consideration.”
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The federal government was also urged to pay more attention to the activities of those illegally carrying out fishing in Nigeria’s territorial waters, to guard against possible dumping of wastes as well as unwanted aquatic species.