Fishes dying due to cancer developed in polluted water bodies in MP

BHOPAL: Water pollution is not only leading health issues in human being in Madhya Pradesh but also in fishes. The College of Fishery Science, Jabalpur, after testing the samples of dead fishes over a span of past four years concluded fishes died after developing cancer-specially skin cancer in them. The problem is more pertinent in fishes of still water bodies, but fishes in rivers are also under threat.

The institute tested the samples after the state’s fishermen societies and Krishi Vigyan Kendras asked it look into the reasons for death of fishes in water bodies across the state. The Institute studied samples of dead fishes from different water bodies of Mandla, Dindori, Seoni, Balaghat, Jabalpur, Rewa among other places. The study also found fishes to be more prone to skin cancers and once a fish develops cancer, the entire group in the environment are at a high risk of developing it.

Dean of the college, Shashikant Mahajan said, “Cancer develops in fishes found in water bodies with high level of heavy metals and plastic. If any humans consume a fish with deadly disease, they would also get ill due to hydro aquatic bacteria and may have problems like vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhoea.” A very common symptoms of deadly disease in a fish is reduction in natural shine of the fish. Reddishness in body parts changes to whiteness and a pale white layer over eyes. In water, the movement of fish with disease also gets slower, he added.

While the release of heavy metals, plastic, sewage leading to reduction oxygen levels in water is the chief cause of cancer in fish of still water, sand mining is also among the major reasons of polluted river water leading to deadly disease in fishes. “Major reason of disease in river fishes is mining, slowing down the natural filtration process”, Mahajan added. Experts also pointed the problem is not common in any particular type of fish, but fishes found in confined waters like Magur and Singhi are more exposed to polluted water, thus being more at risk.

According to the experts, solution to problem is to avoid release of heavy metals, sewage and plastic in water, while release of fresh water in still water bodies can reduce heavy metals in water that could give safer environment to fishes.