The deaths of a large number of fish in Beira Lake have once again brought to surface the questions as to who pollutes it and who is responsible for its maintenance.
City administrator Omar Kamil said the maintenance of Beira Lake was the responsibility of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Urban Development Authority. He said the delays in carrying out cleaning up operations might have speeded up the pollution.
However, Mr. Kamil said the CMC was willing to support the SLPA and the UDA to clean up the lake. SLPA Business Development and Operations Executive Director Dr. Irshad Murshid said this was nothing new to the Beira Lake and the fish had died on a number of previous occasions too due to heavy rains. He said the Ports Authority has started cleaning the lake and sent samples of fish for analysis but the results were not yet available.Environmental scientist Achala Navaratne said only a chemical analysis of the Beira waters could say what caused the deaths of the large number of fish.
The waters could have been contaminated by effluent released from an industrial plant or sewage from sewers, the environmentalist said.
He said that if no immediate action was taken to stop effluent and waste water being released to the lake, no amount of cleaning could counter the pollution.
He said another possibility was the reappearance of algae in the lake. ?These algae which produce oxygen during the day drain it up during the night, depriving fish of oxygen. The deficiency of oxygen may cause the deaths but no one has reported fish coming to the surface struggling to breathe through the mouth,? he said.