Thousands of dead fish wash up in Lebanon: “They’re hiding a crime”

Dead fish are seen floating in Lake Qaraoun, Lebanon, photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir
Dead fish are seen floating in Lake Qaraoun, Lebanon, photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the shores of Lake Qaraoun in Lebanon. Activists say the fish died from the polluted water in the lake attached to Lebanon’s longest river, the Litani.

“This is the first time the phenomenon appears in Qaraoun. Some statements claimed that this is a seasonal virus, it’s not a virus, someone did this,” said Ahmad Askar, a local environmental activist.

Volunteers collected tonnes of rotting fish carcasses. Environmental activists have warned for years of water pollution caused by sewage and industrial waste in the lake and river.

At least 40 tonnes of fish have turned up dead; Askar and local fishermen have never seen so many dead fish floating up. They called on the Litani river authority to find the cause and go after anyone dumping industrial waste into the lake.

“The Litani authorities asked for the dead fish to be collected and taken to a landfill, to bury the fish. Now more (dead) fish have appeared on the shore. It’s not a solution, it’s like they’re hiding the crime, it’s not right,” Askar said.

The river authority said this week that the fish were toxic, telling people not to fish along the Litani.

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