Polish, German tests of Odra samples show same results says minister

The exact cause of the the mass fish die-off, which was labeled an "ecological disaster" remains unclear. Lech Muszyński/PAP

The results of Polish and German tests of water samples taken from the River Odra, where masses of dead fish had been discovered, are the same, Poland's deputy climate and environment minister has said.

More than ten tonnes of dead fish have been found since late July in the Odra, Poland's second largest river, which also runs through Germany.

The exact cause of the mass fish die-off, which was labeled an "ecological disaster" remains unclear.

Jacek Ozdoba, a deputy climate and environment minister, told a press conference on Saturday following a government crisis management meeting, that the Polish climate ministry had received official information from the Federal Republic of Germany that the German results were identical to the Polish results in terms of mercury levels in the water samples.

"We have the same parameters, which indicate increased certain factors, including chemical and physical parameters," he said.

Ozdoba added that, concerning chemical parameters, the results indicates an increased oxygen levels in the river.

"Now we are waiting for toxicological tests... and after that we will be able to find out what caused the death of the fish," he said.

Later, Climate and Environment Minister Anna Moskwa wrote on Twitter: "We have received the most recent official water test results from the Germans. No mercury was found. Analyses on both sides of the border show high salinity. Comprehensive toxicological studies are underway in Poland."

Meanwhile, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterated on Saturday that the government would "do everything to limit losses and minimise the negative effects of the River Odra pollution" and that those responsible would be punished.

"We want to find the guilty parties and punish the perpetrators of this ecological crime," he told reporters.

According to Morawiecki, "in all probability, there was a discharge of harmful substances into the Odra."

Maciej Wąsik, deputy minister of internal affairs and administration, told the press conference that the police chief commander had set up a PLN 1 million (EUR 215,000) reward for information that leads to finding the perpetrators of the environmental disaster on the River Odra.