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500 Tonnes of Phosphate Contaminate River Nile

A capsised barge has released the chemical in the Nile at Qena.

A barge carrying 500 tonnes of phosphate has capsised in Upper Egypt's Qena, forcing the captain and deputy managing to flee to safety. Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Hossam Moghazi has declared a state of emergency at his ministry and notified Qena's potable water station to take the necessary precautions. According to official news agency MENA, the boat capsised when it collided with the city’s Dandara Bridge.

With a continued regional debate on the amount of consumption and water-sharing, this environmental catastrophe complicates things further. 'Luckily’ phosphate does not dissolve in water therefore there is little chance of it actually poisoning the water and the Ministry of Environment has taken samples of the water to better assess the damage.

Moghazi has declared that an operation room has been set up within the ministry to coordinate between the entities involved so that swifter action may be taken.