CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - Hypoxia or oxygen depletion is the cause of fish kills in the Pampanga River in Macabebe and Masantol towns.
This was based on the results of the water quality testing conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in five villages of Masantol.
Report stated that dissolved oxygen level in the area ranges from 0.46 mg/li to 3.78 mg/li, which is below the 5 mg/li optimum level.
The samples were taken in Barangays Sagrada (0.46 mg/li), Consuelo 2 (0.75 mg/li), Consuelo 1 (0.75 mg/li), San Pedro (2.03 mg/li) and Bebe Anac (3.78 mg/li).
Provincial Fishery Coordinator Lanie Lamyong said hyphoxia is a result of numerous factors, normally of pollution or euthrophication or the shallowing of river due to sediments or organic matters coming from domestic and industrial runoffs.
The agency concluded that recent incident which killed common and big head carps (Imelda fish), giant freshwater prawn (ulang), kanduli and ayungin came after a continuous heavy rainfall which disturbed the river sediments.
Lamyong, however, said that the results of water quality test does not acquit Far East Alcohol Corporation (Feaco) which accidentally caused a molasses leak in Pampanga River.
She explained that molasses are considered organic matters and its presence is one of the cause of oxygen depletion in the river.
Lamyong said that organic matter, like molasses consumes oxygen that is supposed to be distributed to fish and other sea creatures, causing oxygen shortage in the river system.
It was disclosed that the molasses that Feaco leaked in the Pampanga reached 65 tons or 46,000 liters.
During the inquiry in the Provincial Board, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) stated that Feaco's biochemical oxygen discharge (BOD) was recorded at 23,574 mg/liter, far higher than 50mg/liter allowable BOD for a class C river like Pampanga River.
Due to disclosed information, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Member Board Member Ananias Canlas Jr. said that thorough investigation on Feaco must be conducted.
He also pointed out the liability of Feaco once proven that they caused the death of thousands of fish, crabs, shrimps and other sea creatures in the Pampanga River.
"It is too much of a coincidence that the fish kill happened after you discharged 46,000 liters of molasses in the Pampanga River. It is very hard to believe that this is an accident like you claim," Canlas said.
Canlas called for the unity of BFAR, EMB, local government of Apalit and Feaco in conducting a deeper probe on the situation and sanction whoever caused the fish kill which displaced scores of fisherfolk.