Warsaw, Poland — Germany’s environment minister said the massive fish kills in the Oder were an ecological disaster and it was not yet clear how long the river would take to recover.
Steffi Lemke spoke at a press conference on Sunday alongside her Polish counterpart, Anna Moskwa, after a meeting in Szczecin, a Polish town on the Oder.
The Oder stretches from the Czech Republic to the border between Poland and Germany before flowing into the Baltic Sea. Ten tonnes of dead fish were removed from it last week, but Mokswa said the cause of the mass mortality has still not been determined.
“So far, at least 150 water samples from the Oder River have been tested. None of the studies confirmed the presence of toxic substances. At the same time, we are testing fish. No mercury or other heavy metals were found there,” she said.
She said some water samples from the Oder were sent to foreign labs to be tested for around 300 substances.
The two ministers said they are now focused on doing what they can to limit damage to the river’s ecosystem.
Lemke suggested German authorities were not alerted quickly enough after dead fish were detected in Poland and said communications between the two countries should be improved.