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Germany-Poland: Mass Fish Kill in Oder River – Attributed to Unknown Toxic Substance

Germany-Poland: Mass Fish Kill in Oder River – Attributed to Unknown Toxic Substance

An unknown highly toxic substance in the Oder River, which flows through Poland and Germany, appears to be the cause of the mass fish die-off, the environment ministry of the German state of Brandenburg has announced.

An analysis of the river’s waters this week showed evidence of “synthetic chemicals, very likely with toxic effects on vertebrates”, the ministry said on Thursday, adding that it remained unclear how the substance got into the water.

According to local radio station rbb, the state laboratory found high levels of mercury in the water samples.

However, the head of Poland’s national water authority told private station Polsat News that the presence of mercury in the water has not been confirmed.

“At the moment, this is journalistic information. We have no confirmation of mercury in the Oder,” said Premislav Dacha, the head of Poland’s water management agency.

The ministry in Brandenburg, the state surrounding Berlin, announced that it has not yet been possible to calculate how many fish have died in Poland and Germany.

“Communication chains between the Polish side and the German side did not work in this case,” Berlin Environment Minister Hans Vogel said, adding that German authorities still had not received information from Poland about the incident.

In a public warning issued this week, residents of the Ukermark and Barnim districts were told to avoid contact with the water of the Oder and a neighboring canal.

In Poland, a senior local official of the opposition People’s Platform party said it would table a proposal to declare the Lubusz region in a state of natural disaster. The relevant decision is left to the government.

“Under no circumstances go near the Oder River or let animals drink from it,” Elizabeth Anna Pollack tweeted.

SOURCE: APE-ME

Source: Capital