Ammonia leak takes toll on Ctg environment
Publication Date: 26 August, 2016
Media: The Independent
Original URL : Ammonia leak takes toll on Ctg environment
E-paper URL: Ammonia leak takes toll on Ctg environment
Though the pungent smell of poisonous ammonia is no longer lingering in the air, the gas that leaked on Tuesday after an explosion at a reservoir of the Diammonium Phosphate Fertiliser Company Limited (DAPFCL) in Chittagong has nevertheless taken its toll on the environment.
The water of nearby ponds has become discoloured as high levels of ammonia have got mixed with it. The fish in several local enclosures have died after ammonia got mixed with the water and the leaves of trees in adjacent areas have faded in colour.
Birds, too, are dying, and at least two cows died on Monday night after the explosion.
However, environmentalists are hopeful that there would be no long-term ecological effects.
“With high levels of ammonia being mixed in the water, pH levels have increased in the water, affecting the fish. The mixing of such high levels of ammonia, however, would slowly be spread out, and the adverse effects would be reduced,” said Edris Ali, associate professor of Chemistry of Chittagong Mohsin College.
“We have collected samples from the adjacent trees, birds, etc. for examination. We are also working to measure the losses caused by the blast in the area,” said Masud Karim, director of the Department of Environment (DoE) in Chittagong. A three-member DoE team is working to measure the losses.
Dr Shahadat Hossain, professor of the Marine Science and Fisheries Institute of Chittagong University, said, “Ammonia gas is a poisonous gas. Following the blast at the tank, the surrounding environment has been affected. It has spread to adjoining areas though the open spaces and the air. As it spread in the wind, its density was slowly reduced. The poisonous effects would be reduced over time.”
The Department of Fisheries (DoF) confirmed that the ammonia has got mixed in the water on 191 acres. In 11 fish farms, more than 36 metric tonnes of fish, worth some Tk. 1.20 crore, have died.
On Tuesday, dead fishes were found floating on the water in adjacent enclosures.
Provati Dev, the DoF’s Chittagong district officer, said, “A total of 36 metric tonnes of fish died across 11 farms. The figure includes seven metric tonnes of prawn.”
Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu visited the spot yesterday evening.