Germany, Poland baffled by mysterious fish die-off on Oder

Berlin, Aug 14 (EFE).- The German government has urged Poland to clarify the circumstances that have led to a mysterious mass die-off of fish along the Oder River that runs between the two countries.

The effects of what is being called an “ecological disaster” have already reached the mouth of the Baltic Sea, where thousands of dead fish have been found.

“We agree: the priority now is damage limitation, protecting the population and identifying the cause and the potential perpetrator,” Germany’s environment minister Steffi Lemke said on a visit to Frankfurt on the Oder on the Polish border on Saturday, a day after she had met with her Polish counterpart to discuss the issue.

“This environmental crime must be solved,” she added.

The causes of the mass fish kill remain unclear, a statement by the German environment ministry said, despite ongoing water analyses by experts from both countries.

Initially there was talk of toxic spills from a Polish industrial plant, while high levels of salinization have been identified in the water, which amid the ongoing drought could also have precipitated the die-off.

Berlin has reproached Warsaw for not notifying it of the problem, which was first detected in Poland weeks ago, until Thursday.

The authorities of the northern German federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have already identified the first effects of pollution at the mouth of the river and issued warnings to the population.

Hundreds of volunteers were working to collect fish carcasses to prevent the spread of the suspected poisoning to birds or other animals.

Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, on Saturday admitted failures in detecting the ecological catastrophe and insisted that “everything possible” would be done to minimize the damages and mitigate losses, as well as to identify those responsible. EFE


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