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    Poland Takes Action to Safeguard River Odra from Contamination

    In response to a recent widespread fish mortality event in southwestern Poland, the country’s environment minister has formed a crisis management team. The Gliwice Canal, which flows into the River Odra, has witnessed the retrieval of nearly one tonne of deceased fish, reigniting concerns about a potential recurrence of last year’s environmental catastrophe, where an immense number of fish perished.

    The primary culprit behind the disaster is believed to be golden algae, which thrives in polluted and warm water. This algae species can generate toxins that are lethal to fish and other aquatic organisms.

    Anna Moskwa, speaking to Polish Radio, highlighted the significance of the three fish die-off incidents this year. As a result, she emphasized the necessity of shifting into crisis management mode, stating, “Three cases… is an important warning signal that we must be ready for a repeat of the situation from last year.” Moskwa also noted a sharp rise in the temperature of the River Odra.

    To facilitate swift and decisive actions, a crisis management team was established on Tuesday, as announced by Moskwa. The team’s mandate involves making emergency decisions and promptly allocating additional funds. The Environment Ministry’s press statement revealed that the team will implement recommendations and protocols developed by experts and researchers to mitigate the risk of a toxic bloom caused by golden algae.

    Since Saturday, approximately 820 kilograms of lifeless fish have been discovered in the Gliwice Canal. The Environment Ministry, in its Monday announcement, highlighted a local decline in water oxygen levels to 28 percent. In response, local authorities have initiated oxygen pumping into the canal to inhibit the growth of algae. 

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