International News

Polish firefighters pull tons of dead fish out of the Oder

#Polish #firefighters #pull #tons #dead #fish #Oder

Polish firefighters said Tuesday they recovered 100 tons of dead fish from the Oder River, which flows through Germany and Poland, raising concerns of an environmental disaster.

“We have never had an operation of this magnitude on a river,” said Monika Nowakowska-Drynda from the press office of the national fire brigade.

She confirmed around 100 tonnes (220,500 pounds) of dead fish have been recovered since Friday.

The cause of death is uncertain, although officials believe the fish was likely poisoned.

“It is likely that enormous amounts of chemical waste were dumped into the river in full knowledge of the risks and consequences,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week.

Water samples were sent to laboratories in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the UK in hopes of finding the cause.

The first reports of mass fish die-offs were made by Polish locals and anglers as early as July 28.

German officials have accused Polish authorities of not informing them of the deaths and were surprised when the wave of lifeless fish came into view.

In Poland, too, the government has been heavily criticized for not acting quickly.

The Oder has been known to be a relatively clean river in recent years, and 40 native fish species are found in the waterway.

But now dead fish – some reaching as much as 40 centimeters (16 inches) – can be seen on the other side of the river.

Nowakowska-Drynda said more than 500 firefighters recovered the dead fish in Poland using dams, boats, quad bikes and even a drone.

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