Dead fish in Polish rivers raise alarm

Thousands of fish wash up on the banks of the Oder River in Germany and Poland, warning of an environmental disaster and asking residents to stay away.

Fish off the German shores near the eastern town of Schwedt are believed to have washed up upstream from Poland, with the first reports of a mass fish die-off reported by locals and anglers on July 28.

German officials said Polish officials did not inform them of the deaths, and were surprised when waves of lifeless fish floated into view.

Photo: Reuters

In Poland, too, the government has been heavily criticized for not taking swift action.

Almost two weeks after the first dead fish appeared to float by a Polish village, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday that “everyone initially thought this was a local problem.” said.

He added, “The scale of the disaster is so great that it could take years for the Oder to return to its natural state.”

Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection Steffi Lemke said: “Probably huge amounts of chemical waste were dumped into rivers with full knowledge of the risks and consequences.” rice field. What she called an “environmental disaster” during brewing.

Standing on the bank of the river, Michael Tautenhahn, deputy director of Germany’s Lower Oder Valley National Park, looks with dismay at the river on the German-Polish border.

“We stand on the German side. There are dead fish everywhere,” he said. “I am very shocked…I feel like I am seeing decades of work lying in ruins here. It’s life,” he said, adding that it wasn’t just fish that had died, but also mussels and countless other water creatures.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Over the last few years, the Oder River has been known as a relatively clean river, home to 40 species of domestic fish.

Now we see dead fish across the river, some as small as a few centimeters, others reaching 30-40cm. Occasionally, people still struggling to get through can be seen jumping up in the water and seemingly out of breath.

Officials believe the fish was likely poisoned.

“This fish death is unusual,” said Axel Vogel, Brandenburg’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection, adding that “definitely tons” of fish had died.

Fish death is often caused by distorted oxygen levels when the water level is too low, he said.

“However, we had a completely different test result, namely increased oxygen levels in the river for several days, which indicated that a foreign body had been introduced that led to this,” he said. I got

Tests are underway in Germany to identify the substance that may have led to death. Early reports suggested it showed very high levels of mercury, but another preliminary result released Friday night showed unusually high levels of salinity.

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