Staff at the Leibniz Institute in Berlin found significant amounts of the microalgae Prymnesium parvum in the waters of the Oder River. This algae is toxic to fish and crustaceans (but not to humans), moreover, it should not be in the Oder at all. This is fishy and may be a cause of fish mortality, perhaps a symptom of a much larger problem.
The presence of these algae is not a normal phenomenon. “It’s definitely a man-made problem,” the researchers say. Abnormal growth of algae can be caused by industrial pollution, but also by lack of oxygen, high water temperatures and low water levels. This combination, along with algae growth or chemical pollution, “can destroy entire ecosystems.” But experts aren’t so sure this time either.
Little difference not captured
Since the dead fish come from Poland, the cause of fish mortality must also lie there. Every time a possible cause is mentioned, Poland feels under attack. At first it was mercury, and on Friday, a sudden appearance of pesticides was suspected again. A German laboratory found elevated levels of pesticides in the water. The researchers immediately added that it could not cause any harm, which the Poles had already said. The quantities were still too low to kill a lot of fish, but this nuance was not captured everywhere in Germany.
Even Poland immediately felt under attack again this weekend. ‘second fake news German media picked it up! “Pesticides and herbicides!” Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskowa tweeted on Saturday evening. “As soon as the media reports it, there will likely be another politician repeating it,” the minister exclaimed, not for the first time.
post colonial knot
In Germany they have a word for their reaction. Muskowa writes screaming out loud as she suffers from a ‘post-colonial complex’ Die Felt: The German occupation in Poland has not been fully addressed, so all criticism from Germany is very sensitive. The dispute is making relations between Germany and Poland more tense by the day, and in Poland opposition and environmental groups are again using it to attack the government. A joint Polish-German expert group must now look into the issue to prevent further escalation of the dispute, according to a news site. Politico.
The Polish fire brigade has already removed more than 150 tons of dead fish from the waters last week, and authorities in the German border region of Brandenburg 36 tons. The fish continues to die.
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