Environmental experts have warned of a poisoning disaster after thousands of dead fish were found in a Polish river.
Shocking images of fish floating on the surface of the Oder River have triggered an investigation into the cause of the wildlife disaster.
The Provincial Environmental Protection Inspectorate in the city of Wroclaw, Poland sent the notification in early August, 2022.
Local senator Wadim Tyszkiewicz reported on Facebook: “The Oder is dying, not only from a lack of water.”
He added: “Oder near Cigacice at 7am on August 9, 2022 – disaster. Those fish that have not died swim in agony.”
Despite extreme temperatures drying up Polish rivers, the regional fishing association claimed that the reason for deaths is probably pollution.
They also warned people to avoid fishing and consuming their catch.
Tyszkiewicz pointed out that surviving fish were desperately trying to “catch oxygen from the water surface.”
He added: “The water in the river is cloudy, with foam smelling of chlorine and sewage.
“I am asking everyone to avoid any contact with the water in the Oder.”
A fisherman with more than 30 years of experience in the area told media that the river has never been in such a bad condition.
In late July, the inspectorate described anomalies in the river’s oxygen levels as of “unnatural origin”.
According to media reports, experts identified a highly toxic substance called mesitylene – used in electronics industries – at two locations on the river.
The inspectorate decided to take additional testing samples from the Oder in early August, but notified prosecutors even before obtaining the results.
They suggest an environmental crime created the disaster.
Deputy chief environmental protection inspector Magda Gosk said: “Taking into account the physicochemical parameters recorded in the waters of the Odra River, it can be assumed that the substance that causes such and not other increases is a strongly oxidizing substance.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Jakub Morawiecki stated: “The Oder pollution issue is extremely scandalous.
“Concern for the natural environment and the condition of Polish water resources is extremely important in the era of climate change, and we will do everything to ensure that this issue is properly investigated, clarified, and the guilty – severely punished.”
Polish laws stipulate an up to five-year-long prison term for such offences.
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Story By: Georgina Jedikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Central European News
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