SIDON, Lebanon: Security forces arrested three people Sunday for selling fish collected at a construction site where hundreds had floated to the surface dead. Hundreds of dead and dying fish amassed at a construction area in the water next to Sidon’s noxious, seaside landfill.
Sunday morning, security forces confiscated a large, though unspecified, amount of raw fish that had come from the site and was being sold in the city’s market. Investigations are underway to find out exactly how the fish died.
Jamal Tiryaqi, a fisherman from Sidon, came across the site where an abundance of dead fish had floated, collected them and sold them to customers and two other fish vendors in the local market, security sources said.
Before being arrested, Tiryaqi ate one of the raw fish he was peddling in an attempt to prove they were safe for human consumption.
A company treating waste from the Sidon landfill is responsible for the construction project: building a pier on a part of the beach near the rubbish pile. The site has accumulated rubble from the construction, and builders have blocked off portions of the seaside, obstructing the flow of water.
The coast guard in Zahrani has launched an investigation into the issue. The office for general prosecution in the south was also tasked with collecting specimens to determine exactly what caused the deaths.
Environmental experts suspected the construction project had caused the fish to die en masse in that area and said those leading the construction project did not consider the effect on the fish living along the shore.
The fish likely died from a combination of factors exacerbated by the obstruction of water flow around the site, they said. The water temperature rose too high and a lack of circulation caused a high concentration of toxic runoff from the landfill to accumulate.
Tiryaqi had only sold fish to two other vendors, who were arrested alongside him.
Security forces learned about the incident early Sunday and raided the market, confiscating the fish. They also informed customers who bought the fish of its origin and confiscated their purchases, believing they were unfit to eat.
Dozens of poor citizens living near the landfill had also gathered the fish, and experts expected that literally tons of dead fish would float to the surface in this area over the next 24 hours.
source www.dailystar.com.lb By Mohammed Zaatari