Chemicals Dumped in River Kill Fish in Laos

Radio Free Asia –

Chemicals released into a river by a Chinese-owned banana farm near the Lao capital Vientiane killed over 300 kg of fish in November, prompting warnings by authorities to local villagers not to bathe or fish in the polluted stream, sources in the country say.

The release, which occurred between Nov. 7 and 9, has affected the villages of Taohai, Yai-nachalern, and Kua, which lie near the Ton river in the Sangthong district of Vientiane, sources said.

Speaking to RFA’s Lao Service, a district agriculture and forest department officer called the ban on use of water from the river a temporary measure pending an official investigation.

“Samples of the water and the dead fish have been taken for examination,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“A temporary warning notice has been issued to the local people, telling them not to use the water or eat fish taken from the river. We will issue another notice once we know the results of the examination,” he said.

A large Chinese banana farm located between the capital Vientiane and neighboring Vientiane province has accepted responsibility for the damage and has signed an agreement with Sangthong district to restore the Ton by releasing nearly 100,000 baby fish into the river during the next three to five years, he said.

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