The new report of the Supreme Audit Office focuses on the killing of the Measles. Slow and systemic, because the river protection system in Poland simply does not work. We all saw how Measles died in 2022. Why did she have to die like this?
– Unfortunately, the Polish state was not prepared – says Marian Banaś, president of the Supreme Audit Office, regarding the Odra disaster. This is just one of a series of alarming conclusions after many months of work by the Supreme Audit Office’s auditors. The new report describes step by step how the Odra River was killed by the passivity of state authorities. – However, the situation in the summer of 2022 is only the tip of the iceberg and a manifestation of surprising errors in the area of water management – emphasizes Banaś. NIK thus – on 265 pages – confirmed what scientists and experts who have been studying Polish rivers for years have been saying almost from the beginning. – The state, our entire system, has failed. The disaster on the Odra River showed that the system protecting water in Poland simply does not work – emphasizes Dr. Alicja Pawelec, water protection specialist, WWF Polska.
We saw how badly the system was working almost live for several weeks in 2022, when millions of lives were dying en masse before our eyes. Dead fish and crustaceans from the Oder had to be fished out with excavators. – 80 percent of the organisms that are responsible for the self-purification of the river have died out – says Iwona Zyman from the Delegation of the Supreme Audit Office in Opole. The Supreme Audit Office confirms what we already know – the direct cause of the mass extinction of fish was golden algae. However, it debunks the myth that humans did not contribute to this, because golden algae are favored by the salinity of the water. – As a result of human activity, the Oder has been and will be polluted for many years. Including salts coming from mine water discharged by mining plants – emphasizes Iwona Zyman.
List of charges
The Supreme Audit Office’s report is downright devastating for state institutions that were obliged to introduce crisis management after the first signals, which they did not do. – It seems that there was no crisis management at all – says Dr. Alicja Pawelec. At the conference, we heard the list of guilty parties. First, the then Minister of Infrastructure. – The minister did not have more than half of the required periodic reports of entities included in this plan, and the reports submitted to the ministry were not subject to substantive verification – emphasizes Przemysław Fedorowicz from the NIK Branch in Opole.
The next culprits are Wody Polskie. – Until the Odra disaster, there was no continuous monitoring of even basic water quality parameters – emphasizes Przemysław Fedorowicz. Accusations were also directed towards the Environmental Protection Inspection. – Another limitation was the lack of cooperation and transfer of data between the Environmental Protection Inspection and Polish Waters, and – what is more shocking – within the Inspection itself – explains Fedorowicz.
The list of allegations is long and very specific. This, however, will not change the fact that the Odra River, even though more than a year has passed, is still in a tragic condition. – Salinity issue not resolved. Salt, which finds its way into rivers mainly from mining plants, enters them with impunity. Fees for salt discharges are basically ridiculous (5 cents per kilogram of salt dumped into the river – editor’s note) – points out Krzysztof Smolnicki from the “Time for the Odra” Coalition.
Main photo source: Fakty TVN