No traces of cyanide have been detected in samples from dead fish that began piling up by the thousands on the shore of a Tianjin river this week, after a series of blasts ripped through a warehouse storing hazardous materials in the city’s Binhai district.
Images showing masses of dead fish floating near the banks of the Haihe River, located six kilometers from the warehouse, began spreading on social media yesterday as some speculated that the deaths were a result of the explosion.
The Ruihai International Logistics warehouse stored up to 40 different kinds of chemicals, including 700 tons of sodium cyanide, 800 tons of ammonium nitrate and 500 tons of potassium.
Tianjin Environmental Monitoring Center Director Deng Xiaowen, however, previously said that that no toxic levels of cyanide had been detected in the river where the fish were found.
He said that it’s normal to see large amounts of dead fish wash up on the riverbanks during the hot summers, as pollution flows into bodies of water after rainfall and can suffocate them.
Deng has vowed to announce the cause of the die-off to the public “immediately” after experts get to the bottom of it, according to People’s Daily.
The Global Times reported that the swath of dead fish spanned along 100 meters of the water’s surface. Officials identified them as stickleback and said they are ‘very sensitive to the environment’.
Zhang Yunli, the head of the port city’s marine fisheries association, told the newspaper that the mass fish deaths could’ve been the result of a change in water’s salinity, which happens annually.
Indeed, a one-kilometer trail of dead stickleback were spotted in the same river back in 2011. Authorities believed ‘an increase in contaminants’ triggered by recent rainfall was the reason, which sounds like a whole ‘nother terrible issue that probably ought to be dealt with, but whatever.
Move along people, nothing to see here.
[Images via People’s Daily]