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Poland and Germany face massive environmental disaster

This week, tons of dead fish were found in the Oder River which runs through both Germany and Austria.

Authorities in Poland and Germany are trying to determine the cause of a major environmental disaster in Poland’s second largest river, which also flows through the Czech Republic and eastern Germany. 

In the two week period, hundreds of dead fish washed up on Oder River’s banks. The river surface is covered with dead fish carcasses. Photos and videos shared on social media also show dead beavers floating in the water. 

German broadcaster rbb24 reported Saturday that the catastrophe had affected the Szczecin lagoon, at the Oder’s mouth that runs into the Baltic Sea. Nearly 80 km of the Oder has been covered by volunteers and around 300 German emergency workers. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared Friday that “huge amounts of chemical waste were probably dumped in the Oder River with full awareness of the risks and consequences.”He also promised to make the perpetrators accountable. “We will not let this matter go. We will not rest until the guilty are severely punished,”In a Facebook video, he stated the following: 

On Saturday, Poland offered a reward of a million zloty ($220,200) for any information about those responsible for what was described by some environmentalists as the nation’s biggest disaster in years.

Unknown is the cause. According to rbb24 on Friday, extremely high levels were detected in river water samples. According to reports, the toxic substance was so large that the equipment used for testing could not display it properly and had to be performed again. 

But, Saturday’s statement by Anna Moskwa, the Polish Environment Minister, ruled that an increase in mercury was not the culprit for massive fish death at the Oder. “The State Veterinary Institute tested seven species. It ruled out mercury as a cause of fish deaths,”she wroteTweet. According to Polish authorities, the problem could be due to high levels of salt in the water.  

Axel Vogel (environment minister in Brandenburg, eastern Germany) also stated that the large amount of dissolved salt could have caused the death of the fish. The following is the conclusion. “absolutely atypical,”He told rbb24. 

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Berlin blamed Warsaw, however, for failing to share the details of the German disaster with Germany on time. Steffi Lemke said the German environment minister stated that they were not notified of the disaster by Germany in time. Vogel told rbb24 he hadn’t received any information from Poland regarding chemical wastes that might have been dumped in the river.

Morawiecki said to reporters Saturday that he learned the details of the disaster from himself “too late”Two top civil servants responsible for water management and environmental protection were dismissed.

According to the rbb24 there are some “indications”Some toxic chemicals were found in the Oder, near Wroclaw, in south Poland in July. The exact cause of the poisoning and the identity of the culprits are unknown. 

It comes at a time when Europe is experiencing a major draught as well as heat waves that have seen water levels drop in several of the continent’s main rivers. This fact has been reported by some media as a possible contributing factor to the catastrophe.



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