"Want to cover up the cause": Poland blocks investigation into fish deaths on the Oder

It is still unclear who is responsible for the death of millions of fish in the Oder.

"Want to cover up the cause": Poland blocks investigation into fish deaths on the Oder

It is still unclear who is responsible for the death of millions of fish in the Oder. The sluggish investigations apparently have a reason: the Polish government is stonewalling. At least that's what the German side of the investigative commission says. The left see it as an admission of guilt.

In the German-Polish dispute over how to deal with the environmental catastrophe that led to the death of millions of fish in the Oder, the fronts are hardening. The Polish government blocked the work of the binational commission of experts that was supposed to determine the cause of the disaster. This was reported by the "Spiegel".

Lilian Busse, head of the investigative commission, criticizes that the Polish side has neither shared comprehensive data nor shown itself to be cooperative. "In the beginning, we actually exchanged ideas quite well in the German-Polish group. However, as the process progressed, the Polish colleagues became more and more reserved, sometimes almost silent," says Busse. This conflict meant that no joint report could be presented at the end. From the Berlin Federal Ministry for the Environment it was only said that we would stay in touch.

Even two months after the disaster, it is unclear who is responsible for it. The reports by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Polish government, which are available to "Spiegel", show that excessive salt levels led to the deadly spread of the alga "Prymnesium parvum". Where and by whom the salt got into the river remains unclear.

An investigation by Greenpeace provides clarity, according to the magazine. According to this, salt concentrations were measured in the Gliwice region in Poland and in a copper mine near the city of Głogów that are many times higher than the permissible values ​​​​in fresh water. The report concludes that "These results indicate that a large part of the environmental disaster is man-made and is due to the heavy pollution of the river. The most notable of these are discharges from the mining industry". Greenpeace activist Marta Gregorczyk told the "Spiegel": "In Poland, water quality and sanitation are not consistently monitored."

The opposition in the environment committee of the German Bundestag is very angry. "It is obvious to me that the Polish government wants to cover up what caused the fish deaths in the Oder," Ralph Lenkert, environmental policy spokesman for the Left, told the magazine. Lenkert speaks of an "environmental scandal" and calls on the federal government "if necessary to sue Poland before the European Court of Justice."

Criticism also comes from the Green MEP Hannah Neumann: "So far, German-Polish cooperation has not worked well, the Water Framework Directive is not being implemented. European funds are flowing into Polish projects that are expanding contrary to European requirements," said Neumann.

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