Tunnel Construction Chemical Leak Causes Mass Fish Deaths in Kasy District

Dead Fish in Nam Lik River Kasy Province

A chemical leak at a construction site on part of the Lao-China Railway has caused the deaths of fish and contaminated sections of the Nam Lik River in Kasy District, Vientiane Province.

Authorities in Kasy District, Vientiane Province, have urged residents to refrain from eating fish or consuming water from the Lik river after hundreds of dead fish were found in the area.

Vientiane Times reports that according to initial inspections by the provincial Natural Resources and Environment Department, polluted water was discovered in Viengkeo and Nathaen villages, where 4-5 kg of dead fish were collected from the river.

The water has been contaminated by chemicals leaking from a construction site related to a tunnel dug as part of the Lao-China Railway.

Testing of the contaminated water is being undertaken, and authorities have advised all residents to refrain from consuming water from the river until results have been confirmed.

According to some sources, a meeting was held yesterday between the construction company and the Deputy Head of the Kasy District Office of Natural Resources and Environment to assess the damage, and it is expected that the company will be held accountable.

Fish deaths caused by leaked chemicals have occurred several times in the past few years, most famously in Houayxay, where a toxic chemical known as “Fenpropathrin” was identified as the cause of mysterious fish in the Nam Ngao Sanctuary in Houayxai District.

Banana farms were ordered to cease operations temporarily in 2016 after the use of dangerous chemicals was found to contaminate waterways, and some workers became ill after spraying pesticides on farms.