Poland investigates mass die-off of tons of fish in 'ecological catastrophe'
Poland has deployed soldiers to help clean up the country's second-longest river after 10 tons of dead fish surfaced in the waterway.An association of fishers in Zielona Gora, a city in western Poland, said Friday that it was suspending fishing in the river because of still-unconfirmed reports in the German media that the river could be contaminated with mercury.
BERLIN (AP) — German officials expressed mounting anger Monday at the slow flow of information from Poland as experts raced to discover what killed tens of thousands of fish in a shared border river and put up barriers used to contain oil spills in a bid to rein in the spread of fish carcasses.
German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke demanded a transparent and full investigation into the cause for the massive fish die-off in the Oder River after having met her Polish counterpart in the Polish border city of Szczecin on Sunday evening.
High salinity found in European river after fish die-off
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Laboratory tests following a mass dying off of fish detected high levels of salinity but no mercury in waters of Central Europe's Oder River, Poland’s environment minister said Saturday. Anna Moskwa, the minister of climate and environment, said analyses of river samples taken in both Poland and Germany revealed the elevated salt levels. Comprehensive toxicology studies are still underway in Poland, she said. Writing onAnna Moskwa, the minister of climate and environment, said analyses of river samples taken in both Poland and Germany revealed the elevated salt levels. Comprehensive toxicology studies are still underway in Poland, she said.
“There would be a massive loss of confidence, especially among the Polish population, but probably also among us, if this (investigation) did not succeed,” Lemke said Monday on ARD television.
The Oder runs from Czechia to the border between Poland and Germany before flowing into the Baltic Sea. Ten tons of dead fish were removed from it last week and people have been asked not to swim in it or even touch its waters. Authorities have not yet found the reason for the massive fish die-off.
Mystery deepens around mass die-off of fish in major European river
Mystery surrounds the mass die-off of fish in a major European river. Laboratory tests following a mass die-off of fish in the Oder River detected high levels of salinity but no mercury poisoning its waters, Poland’s environment minister said Saturday as the mystery continued as to what killed tons of fish in Central Europe. Anna Moskwa, the minister of climate and environment, said analyses of river samples taken in both Poland and Germany revealed elevated salt levels. Comprehensive toxicology studies are still underway in Poland, she said.
Authorities on Monday were putting up sea barriers usually used during oil spills on the Szczecin Lagoon, where the river runs into the Baltic Sea, to prevent a possible spread of fish carcasses there, the German news agency dpa reported.
Since last Friday some 80 tons of dead fish have been collected, said Brig. Karol Kierzkowski, spokesman for Poland’s fire service.
Video: Drone views of European river's massive fish kill (Reuters)
Lemke also announced the two European Union countries have created a task force with experts to exchange updates on the investigation into the ecological disaster.
Deadline looms for drought-stricken states to cut water use
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Banks along parts of the Colorado River where water once streamed are now just caked mud and rock as climate change makes the Western U.S. hotter and drier. More than two decades of drought have done little to deter the region from diverting more water than flows through it, depleting key reservoirs to levels that now jeopardize delivery and hydropower production. Cities and farms in seven U.S. states are bracing for cuts this week as officials stare down a deadline to propose unprecedented reductions to their use of the water, setting up what’s expected to be the most consequential week for Colorado River policy in years.
The state governor of Brandenburg, which borders Poland along the Oder River, criticized Polish authorities for their lack of information on the fish die-off.
The information about the environmental disaster has come only “in dribs and drabs” or “not at all,” Dietmar Woidke said, adding that “this must be dealt with urgently in the coming months,” dpa reported.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki countered Monday that Poland was doing everything to cooperate with German to explain the fish die-off, and said the German authorities also could not yet explain the cause.
The German environment ministry said they were expecting results on possible toxins in the river water later this week. Brandenburg state Environment Minister Axel Vogel said “it may take several more days until we have checked through all the substances that we consider possible.”
There is probably more than one cause for the fish die-off, Vogel said, adding that the current drought and low water levels almost certainly shared part of the blame.
The entire ecosystem of the Oder River has been damaged, he said.
“That’s why we don’t think we have a disaster that can be solved within half a year by repopulating with fish," Vogel said.
Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment
Cheyenne River Youth Project engages and empowers youth through innovative Lakota Art Fellowship program .
News Release Cheyenne River Youth Project This summer, the Cheyenne River Youth Project concluded its second Lakota Art Fellowship at its Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Institute. Fellow Julia Lesmeister officially graduated from the program on July 21, and on Aug. 14, she celebrated her 16th birthday.Cheyenne River Youth Project created the Lakota Art Fellowship in 2019 so it could provide opportunities for teens on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation who have an interest in pursuing careers in the arts, and who have completed multiple internships through the nonprofit youth project’s dedicated art institute.