Poland’s lawmakers are set to approve emergency legislation to preserve Poland’s Oder River and prevent environmental disasters such as pollution and a recent fish die-off, officials said Tuesday.
Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Grobarczyk stated that the legislation, which parliamentarians are due to debate in a hurry, would provide cash for continuous monitoring of the Oder’s waters as well as new sewage treatment plants.
It would also provide financial compensation to enterprises, mostly tourism and food businesses, that have been impacted by what authorities describe as the largest natural disaster in the Oder area in many years.
Fishermen in southwestern Poland initially observed an extraordinary number of dead fish in the Oder in late July, and since then, 130 tons of fish have been removed from the river in Poland, with many more pulled from neighboring Germany.
Experts in Poland and Germany found harmful algae in the river water as well as changes in its chemical composition, but they could not pinpoint a single component that killed the fish.
Mirosawa Zbro, Poland’s top environmental officer, stated on Tuesday that laboratory tests conducted in Czechia yielded comparable results to those found in Poland. The results of samples sent to laboratories in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are expected soon.
According to Krzysztof Wos, the officer in charge of Poland’s water systems, there are about 300 illegal, unmonitored discharge locations on the Oder, some of which are being investigated.
His office, the state-run Polish Waters, offers licenses that allow enterprises and industries to discharge garbage into rivers under rigorous conditions. There is, however, no permanent monitoring system in place for the Oder or any of Poland’s other rivers, including the major one, the Vistula.
The Oder, which is approximately 840 kilometers (520 miles) long, originates in Czechia but largely flows through southwestern Poland and along the German border before emptying into the Baltic Sea.
Polish radio station TVN24 reported that some fishermen in the Szczecin region were attempting to save individual fish by moving them from the river to plastic pools.
Source: AP News