Although used for drinking water, bathing and irrigation purposes earlier, the tank has become the dumping ground of wastewater and effluents, authorities state.

Constant dumping of waste killed hundreds of fish in Coimbatore tank
news Environment Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 12:26

Hundreds of fish in Coimbatore city’s Valankulam tank were found dead on Tuesday, leaving residents in a state of panic.  

The stench of dead fish alerted residents living on the streets surrounding the tank in Coimbatore and went to check. They were shocked to see scores of dead fish floating at the surface, near the part of the tank close to the bus depot on Sungam junction.  

“The reason could be because of dumping of bio-waste, bio-medical waste and chemical effluents. This isn’t surprising since several sewers and other drains in Covai city directly drains into the Valankulam tank. The tank used to be connected to the Ukkadam tank which is also being polluted with sewage and other effluents,” says Jayaprakash, assistant engineer in the public works department.

Fish from the tank is not to be used for consumption since it lives in highly contaminated water.  

“We don’t encourage people to consume the fish from these tanks. The tank is not to be used for fishing. However, a lot of markets in the city sell these fish,” observes Jayaprakash.

The tank located near Ramanathapuram is 10 feet deep and less than 100 acres in size. It was built hundreds of years ago, during the Karikalan Chola reign. In the early 19th century, the British too revived the tank along with others in the area.

Although used for drinking water, bathing and irrigation purposes earlier, for close to 35 years now – ever since the city of Covai has developed – the tank has been the dumping ground of wastewater and effluents.

It has been reported that a week ago, a cow was found dead in the tank. People have claimed that the waste released into the tank from nearby residential areas and bus depots was polluting the tank and thereby causing the fish to die.

The death of fish due to water contamination is not uncommon for the city.

In 2016, fishermen found the fish in the Ukkadam tank turning green due to heavy algae blooming in the water body, according to a TOI report. Experts also stated that this was due to the heavy discharge of effluents into the lake.

The tank is currently being maintained by the corporation who leased it from the Public Works Department 3 years ago, according to Jayaprakash.