Lemke after fish deaths for an expansion stop on the Oder – policy
Massive deaths of fish, anger about the flow of information, delicate relations with Warsaw – the meeting between Federal Environment Minister Lemke and her Polish colleague Moskva contains a lot of potential for conflict and is intended to ease the tension.
Immediately before a meeting with her Polish counterpart, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke insists on stopping the development of the Oder in view of the massive fish kill. “The extent of the damage to the valuable ecosystem of the Oder is not yet foreseeable,” Lemke told the German Press Agency before the start of the German-Polish Environmental Council in Brandenburg Bad Saarow. The Green politician and her Polish colleague Anna Moskwa have been discussing the cause and consequences of the environmental disaster. “Further negative influences must be avoided,” said Lemke. “Against this background, in my view, the expansion of the Oder border is highly problematic and must now be stopped.”
The cause of that fish kills had not yet been found, emphasized Lemke. A joint group of experts has been set up to investigate the causes. It is also about taking steps “how we can restore the badly damaged ecosystem of the Oder together with Poland”. The cross-border processes in such incidents must also be improved so that such a catastrophic extent can be prevented in the future, said Lemke.
The WWF considers the Oder to be poisoned over a large area
Environmental and nature conservation organizations are pushing for an action plan to save the German-Polish border river. According to information from the Brandenburg Environment Ministry, the first results of a bilateral group of experts on fish kills will be presented on Monday. Lemke said in an interview that she expects more serious damage to the Oder than just the fish kill. The environmental organization WWF Germany considers the Oder to be poisoned over a large area. Masses of dead fish were discovered in the German-Polish border river in August. The exact reason for this is so far unclear.
Experts assume that high salinity in the river is a major reason, combined with low water, high temperatures and a toxic species of algae. Up until Saturday a week ago, in Poland and Germany collected around 200 tons of fish carcasses. Environmental groups are calling for an Oder rescue plan. The fish kill caused upset in German-Polish relations. Germany criticized Poland’s information policy, while Poland’s government spoke of “false news” from Germany. The expansion of the Oder planned by Poland should also be an issue for the environmental council. Other topics of the meeting include the search for a nuclear waste repository in Germany and the Polish use of nuclear power.