Belo Horizonte City Hall classified the death of 302 fish in Lagoa da Pampulha in the last two days as “out of the ordinary”.
“This is an atypical moment. It has been many years since there has been a record of a heat wave like this in Belo Horizonte, therefore, there have been no episodes like this”, explained Ricardo Aroeira, Director of Urban Water Management at the capital’s Municipal Department of Works and Infrastructure.
The fish deaths are yet another strong warning of the consequences of the heat wave that has hit the capital of Minas Gerais and part of Brazil in recent days. The phenomenon placed 853 municipalities in Minas Gerais on red alert. Yesterday (14), the capital recorded 37.9°C, the third heat record in a row.
This Tuesday (14), with a record temperature of 37.9ºC, two hundred and ninety-two dead fish were removed from the banks of Lagoa da Pampulha. The previous day, another 10 were found. Outside of the heat wave, the daily average for collecting dead fish is just 2, according to City Hall.
What causes mortality?
Ricardo Aroeira explains that the death of the fish is related to the heat wave. Added to this is the low volume of rainfall, which means the water level in the lagoon reservoir is low and the dilution of pollutants is very low.
“Without significant rainfall, we have a smaller volume of water in the lagoon and a higher concentration of pollutants. This causes the oxygen in the water to decrease, which can lead to the death of the animals,” he added.
The pollution of one of the city’s main postcards is an old problem in Belo Horizonte. “Dead fish are found daily, but not in such a significant way. Around two animals are collected at a given point”, added Ricardo.
This time, according to Ricardo, the fish were found scattered throughout the 18 kilometers of the lagoon. He explained that tilapia is the dominant species at the site and, therefore, these are the fish collected.
The director draws attention to climate change. “This is an unusual event. Unfortunately, it is an event that signals climate change and the tendency for these events to recur with some frequency. Considering we have hundreds of thousands of individuals in the Pampulha lagoon, this is a relatively low number. But it indicates that animals and fish are suffering”, he concluded.
According to meteorologists, the heat is expected to continue until Sunday (19). However, this Wednesday (15), the Proclamation of the Republic holiday, the forecast indicates the possibility of rapid rain showers. The minimum temperature was 22 °C. The estimated maximum is 38 °C.
Minimum relative humidity is around 20% in the afternoon. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal level for the human body is between 40% and 70%.
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