BERLIN (AP) — German authorities Monday forced a siege from Poland as experts raced to find out what killed tens of thousands of fish in the river they share the border with, as they erected a barrier used to contain an oil spill. expressed growing anger at the slow flow of information from Dead fish spread.
Germany’s Environment Minister Steffi Lemke demanded a transparent and full investigation into the cause of the massive fish die-off in the Oder River after meeting with his Polish counterparts in the Polish border city of Szczecin on Sunday night.
“If this investigation is not successful, there will be a great loss of trust, especially among the Polish public, but perhaps even among us,” Lemke told ARD TV on Monday.
The Oder River flows from the Czech Republic to the border of Poland and Germany before emptying into the Baltic Sea. Ten tons of dead fish were removed last week and people were asked not to swim in them or touch the water.
On Monday, authorities erected breakwaters typically used during oil spills in the Szczecin Lagoon, where the river flows into the Baltic Sea, to prevent fish carcasses from spreading there, German news agency dpa reported.
About 80 tons of dead fish have been collected since last Friday, Brig said. Karol Kirzkowski, spokesperson for the Polish Fire Service.
Lemke also announced that two EU Member States will set up a task force with experts to exchange updates on research into ecological hazards.
The governor of Brandenburg, which borders Poland on the Oder River, has criticized Polish authorities for lacking information on fish die-offs.
Information on environmental disasters was either “little” or “nothing at all,” he said, adding that “this needs to be addressed urgently in the coming months.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday countered that Poland was doing everything to cooperate with Germany to explain the fish deaths, and said German officials had yet to explain the cause.
Germany’s environment ministry said it was expecting results later this week on possible toxins in river water. It may take several more days before we can confirm the substance.”
Vogel said the fish deaths are likely due to multiple causes, adding that the current drought and low water levels are almost certainly part of it.
The entire Oder River ecosystem has been damaged, he said.
“So we don’t think any disaster can be solved within six months by re-breeding the fish,” Vogel said.
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