Poland’s Climate and Environment Minister assures that the country is well-prepared to tackle a potential recurrence of the devastating environmental crisis that befell the River Odra last year. In one of the most severe ecological disasters in recent memory, thousands of fish perished in the River Odra, Poland’s second-longest river that spans the Polish-German border, between July and August 2022.
Experts attribute the disaster to the proliferation of golden algae, a type of algae that thrives in polluted, warm waters. The algae releases toxins that are harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms, leading to their demise.
During an interview with private broadcaster Radio Zet on Monday, Anna Moskwa was questioned about the possibility of a similar disaster occurring this year. She responded, saying, “We are confident that we have taken all necessary measures to prevent a recurrence of last year’s catastrophe, both on the Polish and German sides.”
Moskwa acknowledged the potential for a repeat of the situation caused by golden algae, stating, “We are prepared and aware that… last year’s scenario could repeat itself, and any possible outcome is plausible.”
Moskwa further highlighted the current high temperatures, emphasizing the urgency of the matter. She revealed that 60 percent of the sewage flowing into the Odra consists of municipal wastewater containing nitrogen and phosphorus, which are crucial factors contributing to the growth of golden algae. “We have allocated substantial funds for the treatment of urban sewage,” Moskwa added.
Over the weekend, authorities took proactive measures to prevent algae growth by introducing oxygen into the Gliwice Canal, located in southern Poland, which feeds into the Odra. This initiative aims to curb the development of detrimental algae and mitigate potential ecological consequences.