October 4, 2022

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Mass mortality of Oder River fish at the German-Polish border linked to mercury

Mass mortality of Oder River fish at the German-Polish border linked to mercury
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Poland’s prime minister said on Friday massive amounts of chemical waste were likely dumped into a river on the Polish-German border, killing tons of fish and creating an environmental disaster that could take years to clean up.

Authorities said 150 Polish soldiers have been deployed to the 522-mile Oder River, which flows through Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, to begin a clean-up operation. It is possible that the chemical spill was intentional, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki He said On Friday’s podcast.

“It is possible that huge amounts of chemical waste were dumped into the Oder River, and this was done with full awareness of the risks and consequences,” Morawiecki said. “We will not let this go, and we will not rest until the guilty are severely punished.”

German water samples from the area revealed elevated levels of mercury, according to local media, but authorities are still investigating the source of the leak. Scientists have speculated that there may be other causes for the mass deaths of fish, including climate change. Polish troops erected a barricade along the river to catch dead fish, and warned locals not to bathe in the water or eat fish caught in the polluted parts of the river.

Environmental groups have criticized the Polish government for its slow response to pollution noticed by local fishermen in late July. The German environment ministry said Warsaw did not officially inform Berlin of the disaster until Thursday, weeks after the dead fish first appeared.

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“We know that the series of visualized reports of such cases have not worked,” Ministry of Environment spokesman Christopher Stolzenberg told reporters. According to the Associated Press.

“Environmental catastrophe looms”, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke Tell RND Newspaper Group. All parties are working hard to find the causes of this block [killing of fish] and reduce potential additional damage.

video Spread On social media, fish are seen stacked and floating along the riverbank. Local fishermen say they have been removing dead fish and beavers from the waters for weeks.

Scientists have speculated that factors other than intentional dumping could play a role. The mercury would have settled into the river’s sediments due to previous pollution, before being stirred up by recent dredging. Europe Historic heat wave this summer It could also be the cause. The continent is facing what could be its worst drought in 500 years; Low water levels and high temperatures can suffocate the oxygen supply of a river’s aquatic life and exacerbate existing pollution.

This is a problem we will increasingly be facing as we move into a world affected by climate change. “The pollutants that are there are more toxic because they are present in higher concentrations during drought conditions,” said David Taylor, professor of environmental change at the National University of Singapore.

“We’re in this strange period now, where we’re starting to see more and more, not only the direct effects of climate change, like droughts and storms, but also the indirect effects of climate charge.”

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In 2016, Vietnam blamed a steel plant on its coast for a toxic waste spill that killed nearly 100 tons of fish, in what was known as the country’s worst environmental disaster. The spill contaminated 125 miles of shoreline and left many fishermen in the area out of work. internal government report have found The plant, operated by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, has committed more than 50 violations, according to Reuters.

On Friday, Morawiecki sacked the head of the National Water Management Agency, after 20,000 people Occurred Petition urging them to separate. He also fired the country’s chief inspector for the Environmental Protection Agency for not moving fast enough.

“The situation we are dealing with was by no means expected, but it is certain that the responsible agencies could have acted faster,” he said in a statement. Facebook Mail.