Poland pulls 100 tons of dead fish from Oder river after mysterious mass die-off | Poland

Polish firefighters have removed 100 tons of dead fish from the Oder River, which runs through Germany Polanddeepening concerns about an environmental disaster whose cause has yet to be determined.

Monika Nowakowska-Drynda of the national fire brigade’s press office said on Tuesday: “We have never had an operation like this on a river before.”

He confirmed that about 100 tons (220,500 pounds) of dead fish had been recovered since Friday. In Poland, more than 500 firefighters are removing dead fish using dams, boats, quad bikes and even a drone.

German municipalities bathing and fishing are prohibited After thousands of dead fish were found floating in the Oder, the 520-mile (840 km) river that flows from the Czech Republic to the Baltic Sea along the German-Polish border.

Conservationists fear that mass killings could damage the entire ecosystem of the Oder. “We have to see how the bird population develops and what will happen to the raccoon and the otter,” Karina Dörk, district administrator of Germany’s Uckermark region, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper. “This is a disaster that will stay with us for years.”

The cause of the mass death remains a mystery, although pollution is the leading theory.
The cause of the mass death remains a mystery, although pollution is the leading theory. Photo: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

The cause of death remains undetermined and Poland offered a reward of 1 million zlotys, or €210,000 (£180,000), to anyone who “helps find those responsible for this environmental disaster”. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week that “a large amount of chemical waste was probably dumped into the river with full knowledge of the risks and consequences.”

But climate and environment minister Anna Moskva said on Tuesday that “no toxic substances have been detected in any of the samples tested so far”. Polish scientists said laboratory tests revealed only high salt levels.

He said the government is investigating possible natural causes, particularly higher concentrations of pollutants and salinity as a result of falling water levels and higher temperatures.

A third hypothesis being explored is that highly chlorinated industrial waste water was dumped into the river.

Water samples have been sent to laboratories in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and England in hopes of finding the cause.

The first reports of mass fish kills were reported by local residents and fishermen in Poland on July 28. In Poland, the government has also been severely criticized for not taking swift measures. On Friday, Morawiecki fired the CEO of Polish Water, the state company responsible for water management, and the head of the environmental inspectorate in response to their handling of the Oder’s pollution.

German officials accused Polish authorities of not informing them of the deaths and were surprised when a wave of lifeless fish appeared.

In recent years, the Oder has been recognized as a relatively clean river, and 40 local fish species can be found in the waterway.

But now dead fish – some up to 40 centimeters (16 inches) long – can be seen across the river.

With Agence France-Presse

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