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Ammonia leak takes toll on Ctg environment

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Ammonia leak takes toll on Ctg environment

Clockwise from left: 500-tonne capacity ammonia tank that crashed onto the ground of Ctg fertiliser plant at Anwara in Chittgagong; water of a nearby canal takes a brown hue after getting exposed to high level of ammonia; fish of a nearby pond die as ammonia mixes in the water. The photos were taken yesterday. Photo: Rajib Raihan

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.

Read More: Ctg fertiliser factory gas tank leak: Situation now under control

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.

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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