Poland to cooperate with foreign labs to find out cause of Odra pollution

The Odra, Poland's second longest river, has been polluted by a still unidentified toxin that has killed thousands of fish in one of Poland's worst environmental disasters in recent years. Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Poland's Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection (GIOS) has sent samples of water from the River Odra to foreign laboratories in order to find out the cause of its pollution.

The Odra, Poland's second longest river, has been polluted by a still unidentified toxin that has killed thousands of fish in one of Poland's worst environmental disasters in recent years.

According to GOIS, a total of 87 samples of water will be tested in laboratories abroad.

"The first samples have already been sent to laboratories in Czechia, others will be sent to the Netherlands and the UK," GIOS wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

"The first water samples were collected from the River Odra on Monday and delivered to the Czech Republic in a police convoy," the inspectorate said, adding that more samples had been collected in 29 places on Tuesday.

Laboratories in the Netherlands and the UK will receive 29 water samples each.

GIOS stated that Poland's Central Research Laboratory had been analysing the situation in a bid to solve the mystery of a massive fish die-off in the Odra River since the very beginning but, in order to confirm the reliability of its tests, the inspectorate had decided to cooperate with foreign centres.

Later on Tuesday, Development and Technology Minister Waldemar Buda said that none of the foreign laboratories had given a concrete date when the results could be ready.

"Unfortunately, these tests are time-consuming," Buda said, adding that Poland wanted to receive the results as soon as possible, "but we are aware of the fact, that it will take time."

Almost one hundred tonnes of dead fish have been found since late July in the Odra, which also runs through Germany. The exact cause of the mass fish die-off, which was labelled an "ecological disaster," remains unclear.