As the heatwave grips the entire Australian mainland right now – yeah, you’re looking pretty smug there, Tasmania – spare a thought for the people with what has to be the worst job in the country. Those brave men and women on dead fish cleanup in the Darling River.
It’s taken this long to find contractors that can actually do the job, and they have to hurry because soon the fish will sink to the bottom of the river, release all sorts of nutrients and feed another algal bloom – killing more fish and starting this whole horrific process again.
And it’s already well in train, “The smell it makes, the river is only several hundred metres away from homes and in some cases there are homes right on the river,” general manager of the Central Darling Shire Council Greg Hill told the ABC, “so the smell from decaying fish and the quality of water isn’t pleasant.”
Four days ago the stench made NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham throw up on camera, and it’s unlikely that the last little while has made matters more pleasantly fragrant.
Making this process even more horrendous is that the forecast for Menindee is for temperatures in the mid-forties for the rest of the week. And which is… oh god, excuse us a minute…
In conclusion: bless you, fish-gatherers of Menindee. The nation stands upwind and salutes you.