Poland ready for repeat of River Odra disaster says minister

Lech Muszyński/PAP

Poland is prepared for a repeat of the environmental disaster that struck the River Odra last year, the climate and environment minister has said.

Thousands of fish died in Poland’s second longest river, which forms a long stretch of the Polish-German border, between July and August 2022 in one of the worst ecological calamities to hit the country in recent years.

The disaster is believed to have been caused by golden algae, which can flourish in contaminated water that is warmed by hot weather.

The algae can produce toxins that kill fish and other river life.

Anna Moskwa, asked by a private broadcaster Radio Zet on Monday whether Poland faces the prospect of a disaster similar to last year’s said: "We are convinced that we have managed to do everything we can to prevent a repetition of the catastrophe of last year, both on the Polish and German sides."

When it comes to golden algae, she added that "we are prepared and we realise that.... the situation from last year may repeat itself and any scenario may occur...”

"Temperatures are already high," she continued

According to Moskwa, 60 percent of sewage that goes to the Odra is collective municipal sewage containing nitrogen and phosphorus, decisive for the development of golden algae.

"We have allocated large sums for the treatment of urban swage," she said.

Over the weekend oxygen was pumped into the Gliwice Canal, in southern Poland, which feeds into the Odra in order to prevent the growth of algae.

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