Key individuals 'on vacation' during Odra crisis says opposition leader

Borys Budka, the head of Civic Coalition's (KO) parliamentary caucus, said his party's MPs were investigating the disaster, which has resulted in tonnes of dead fish being pulled from the river, and would prepare a "black book," containing a list of all of the errors committed as well as recommendations for the future. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The River Odra ecological disaster could have been prevented if key individuals such as the prime minister had not been "on vacation", a leading opposition politician claimed on Wednesday.

Borys Budka, the head of Civic Coalition's (KO) parliamentary caucus, said his party's MPs were investigating the disaster, which has resulted in tonnes of dead fish being pulled from the river, and would prepare a "black book," containing a list of all of the errors committed as well as recommendations for the future.

He also rounded on the country's leaders and the state authorities for failing to react to the disaster.

"During a crisis, one should return from one's vacation and attend to one's duties, and this is what was done by KO MPs who, after the outbreak of the crisis on the River Odra, started inspections of various institutions."

He pointed out that "the prime minister was on vacation, ministers were on vacation, provincial governors were on vacation and, at the same time, the central system which was established and has been functioning in Poland for seven years to deal with a crisis situations, did not work."

"Add to this the incompetence of people who were working in state institutions only because of their party membership," he said.

More than 200 tonnes of dead fish have been removed from the River Odra since late July. The cause of the mass deaths of fish, labelled as Poland's worst environmental disaster in recent years, is still being investigated.