Dead fish in Sg Gombak due to lack of oxygen, says DoE

Hundreds of fish were reported to have died in the Sungai Gombak after heavy rain on Aug 9. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The cause of death of hundreds of fishes in Sungai Gombak earlier this month is believed to be due to lack of oxygen rather than pollution, said Kuala Lumpur Department of Environment (DOE) director Nor Aziah Jaafar.

She said preliminary investigations revealed that the cause of the death of the fishes, which were mostly tilapia, was due to heavy rains which churned up the river’s underlying sediments, blocking their gills.

She said although the water quality of Sungai Gombak was rated at Class Three for pollution (deemed unsuitable for water activities), investigations did not find any chemical residues which could be linked to poisoning, as claimed by those who saw the incident.

“According to preliminary investigations, we found that most of the gills were filled with sediments from the bottom of the river. The fish died from a lack of oxygen.

“We have also referred the matter to the Fisheries Department for verification.

“We are still investigating other causes as there is a lot of water coming from public drains into the river. But there are no industries nearby,” she said when contacted.

Aziah said samples taken by the DoE had been submitted to the Chemistry Department for analysis and the results were expected to be known within a month.

Images of hundreds of dead fish found floating in Sungai Gombak, near Jalan Pekeliling Lama on Aug 9, had gone viral on social media, shocking netizens.

Aziah said a special task force was doing a thorough investigation of the incident.