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Ecological disaster in Odra. German environment minister: I fear the natural disaster could happen again this summer

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German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke admitted that she was concerned that the natural disaster in the Oder river “may happen again this summer”. She also pointed out that her ministry continued close cooperation with, among others, Poland. – We must do everything to prevent the extinction of fish in the Odra River – she noted.

In the preliminary report of the Odra team, published by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the death of fish in this river was caused by a fast-acting toxin produced by “golden algae”. It was assured that the deaths were not caused by heavy metals, pesticides or petroleum substances. The report was edited by dr hab. Agnieszka Kolady from the Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute, who presented the conclusions on September 29, 2022 during the conference summarizing the team’s work.

Preliminary report of the team for the situation on the Oder River

Independently own the report was published at that time by the German Ministry of the Environment. Its conclusions are similar to those in the Polish report, but it directly points to human activity as the cause of too high salinity of the river.

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German Environment Minister: We must do everything to prevent this

On Saturday, the RND portal published an interview with the German Minister of the Environment, Steffi Lemke, who spoke, among other things, about the Oder River. Asked if she believed that this summer there could be another mass extinction of fish in this river, Minister Lemke said: – Yes, I am very afraid that the natural disaster on the Oder could happen again this summer. Salt discharges can again trigger algae growth, causing fish to die.

Lemke said that the ministry continued “close cooperation with all interested parties, especially with the relevant federal states and Poland, in order to recognize developments in the Oder River in good time, before another fish die-off occurs.” – We must do everything in our power to prevent the extinction of fish in the Oder this summer and in the following years – said the Minister of the Environment.

The month of the Odra disaster. Chaos, doubt and blame shifting

The action of removing dead fish from the Oder River in Krajnik DolnyPhoto from August 15, 2022Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Ecological disaster in Odra

The first signals about dead fish in the Oder appeared at the end of July 2022. Many accused the central authorities that it took them two weeks to react to the catastrophe in the river. Due to the situation on the Oder, the head of Polish Waters, Przemysław Daca, and the Chief Inspector of Environmental Protection, Michał Masterak, lost their positions.

VIEP submitted a notification about the possibility of committing a crime regarding pollution in the Odra River to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław. Proceedings initiated. On the order of the prosecutor general, a team of seven prosecutors and five policemen was appointed in this investigation. More than 400 witnesses have been questioned so far in the investigation into the mass fish kill and pollution of the Oder river. Investigators have so far not charged anyone in this proceeding.

READ MORE: Over 400 people questioned about the Odra. No charges

Main photo source: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

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