Various news and images of the massive ocean water pollution and air pollution caused by the recent shipwreck of the “X-press Pearl” that arrived off the west coast of Sri Lanka are widely circulating on mainstream media and social media. Among the photographs exchanged were photographs of marine life including fish and sea turtles, especially in Negombo, Wattala, Bambalapitiya, Galle coastal areas along with photographs of the shipwreck.
A photo was also circulating on social media showing a large number of dead fish washed ashore with a caption reading in Sinhala, “Ambalangoda beach this evening”.
A technical examination of this photograph using the tool of ‘Google Reverse Image Search’ confirmed that this was an image copyrighted under a website called “Return To Now”, a news blog dedicated to topics of permaculture, forest gardening, regenerative agriculture, natural living, natural health, and natural parenting, living-off the grid, sustainability, and environmentalism.
This photograph was published on November 1st, 2017, under a news article titled, “Investigation Reveals ‘Tyson Foods’ as #1 Culprit in Largest ‘Dead Zone’ on Earth”.
According to the description of this news article, it mentions that the dead fish shown in this photo has died in the Mississippi River in the United States. This was caused by pollution from toxic gases and fertilizers released to the water from the Heartland of USA to the Gulf by the world’s largest industrial meat and feed production manufacturers, including Tyson Foods, Smithfield, Kargills, Hormel and JBS.
Therefore, it is concluded that the image circulating on social media as a photograph with a large amount of dead fish dumped on the beach in Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka, is out of context and is misleading the public.