Fish perish in the Oder: from what did the animals die?

Schweedt / Potsdam. The death of thousands of fish in the Oder is a mystery. Brandenburg Environment Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) confirmed that mercury contamination had been found in the Oder River – “but we cannot make any statements at the moment that mercury is responsible for the death of the fish,” he said Friday in Schwedt. “We don’t know at the moment what they died for.”

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A combination of several factors such as heat, low water supplies and toxins is possible, Vogel said. “It is very likely that these substances have been introduced into the Oder for a long time, but they are usually not a problem at all in average water levels.” Currently, however, there are historically low water levels in the Oder.

Mysterious fish death in Oder: mercury pollution to blame?

Thousands of dead fish have been discovered on both sides of the Polish and German rivers. Investigation is underway.

Such small amounts of water meant that every substance in the water was present in a higher concentration, Vogel said. Therefore, substances that were usually not very dangerous in dosage can now be dangerous due to overdose. The environment minister said it has now been clarified that fish are also dying in Germany and that it is not just the dead animals that were washed up from Poland in the water.

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Vogel talks about the “atypical” salt loads in the Oder

Vogel also explained that the oud “greatly increased the amounts of salt.” This was “completely unusual,” the green politician said Friday night on RBB television. Vogel’s ministry said the atypical amounts of salt measured could be linked to fish deaths. “According to current information, it will not be the only factor causing the fish deaths in the Oder,” she said in a statement. The term salt loads refers to the salts dissolved in water.

These are the first additional results from the Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory of the daily samples taken at the automated measurement station in Frankfurt (Oder) by Friday, the ministry explained. The results are “not yet fully meaningful and not conclusive”. More survey data “particularly on heavy metals, mercury (in other samples) and other elements” is still being clarified in the laboratory and is expected to be available next week. “Today’s data points to multiple cause relationships, including currently very low discharge rates and rising water temperatures.”

What is mercury and why is it dangerous to humans and nature?

The toxic heavy metal mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. The silver-white substance enters the environment via various routes. In addition to its natural occurrence, for example in volcanic eruptions, humans also release mercury: it can be found in clinical thermometers, button batteries and amalgam dental fillings, for example, or it is produced when fossil materials such as coal or waste are burned. In industry, it is also used, for example, for the extraction of precious metals. Mercury can lead to severe poisoning, but it poses a threat to humans and the environment primarily because it occurs in the food chain. In nature, the substance is converted by microorganisms into especially dangerous organic mercury compounds. These especially accumulate in fish and shellfish and can damage the central nervous system. According to the Federal Environment Agency, above-average consumption of larger fish species can lead to toxicity and irreversible brain damage, especially in fetuses and young children. (dpa)

In order to potentially increase mercury levels, Fogel said that will be further investigated. It could be a local phenomenon. When asked if groundwater or drinking water could be contaminated, Vogel replied: “We hope not.” In any case, it was a “lethal charge” that was carried in the river. But he would not go so far as to see groundwater resources at risk.

According to the authorities, there are likely several reasons for the fish deaths in the Oder

Polish and German authorities are investigating “high pressure” the cause of the mass fish deaths.

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Poland wants to submit test results on Sunday at the earliest

According to the Polish Environmental Protection Agency, the cause of fish deaths is likely to be industrial water pollution. Poland will be able to provide the results of testing the dead fish masses from the Oder River on Sunday as soon as possible. So far, he has not received any fish, the director of the State Research Institute in Boulawi, Krzysztof Nimchuk, told APS on Friday.

Fish should be checked for minerals, pesticides, and other toxic substances. “There are a lot of substances that can kill the fish and we can’t say at this point what could be the cause,” Nimchuk said.

According to the Polish Water Authority, ten tons of dead fish have already been recovered from the Oder.

The death of fish in the Oder has worried people in Brandenburg, on the border with Poland, for days. Thousands of dead fish were discovered in the river, some near Frankfurt (Oder) and surrounding towns. According to the Polish Water Authority, ten tons of dead fish have been recovered.

The area along the Oder River will be flown by drone to see how the fish mortality develops, said Karina Durk, Ukermark district manager. An operation to collect dead fish is scheduled for the German side next Saturday.

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Tensions between Berlin and Warsaw

There was increasing criticism of the Polish authorities. Dead fish were found in Poland at the end of July and water samples were taken for the first time. Brandenburg State Environment Minister Vogel criticized the lack of information on Thursday.

“I am shaken. Not only by the deaths of thousands of fish, but also by the failure of the information chain from Poland. If simple reporting chains do not succeed in the event of an environmental disaster, there is a fundamental need for discussion .

Frankfurt (Oder) Green Party spokeswoman Alina Karaczynski said frustration was deep about the breach of trust in the chamber. “Multiple failures of information obligations and perhaps even an attempt to cover up an environmental catastrophe. This must be dealt with at the federal level between Germany and Poland.”

Loire Valley: “This is just a disaster for the national park”

Conservationists assume far-reaching consequences for the Lower Oder Valley National Park. “The effects are horrific,” National Park Deputy Director Michael Tautenhan told DPA Friday morning. “This is just a disaster for the national park.”

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The entire wave of poisoning passed through the Oder. Dead fish were seen floating along the width of the river. Zander, catfish, kadijnon and loach are affected. Sea eagles and other birds can swallow poison from dead fish. The Lower Oder Valley National Park is one of Germany’s richest habitats.

RND / dpa

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