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Polish parliamentary inspection of Oder River reveals illegal wastewater discharge – EURACTIV.com


Tonnes of dead fish, beavers, birds and mussels have been recovered from the Oder river, and while the Polish parliamentary inspection revealed nearly 300 sites of illegal wastewater discharge, it is still unclear what and who is responsible for the poisoning.

The ecological disaster on the Oder river continues, having a damaging impact on the border areas of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Parliamentarians from the liberal Civic Coalition, the largest opposition party in the Polish parliament, inspected the State Water Management Company Wody Polskie, responsible for overseeing Polish water management. MPs Dariusz Joński and Michał Szczerba revealed details of their inspection of the state-owned company on Thursday.

“In the database we reviewed today, there are 429 water permits related to the discharge of wastewater into the Oder River and tributaries to the Oder River,” Joński said.

The politician cited a company in the town of Kędzierzyn-Koźle as an example of taking advantage of the legal possibility of disposing of waste by throwing it into the river. According to the MP, 6,000 m3 of harmful substances, including phosphorus and zinc, are dumped into the Oder annually from that one company.

The politician also revealed that he had detected 282 illegal places where waste and toxic waste are discharged into the Oder.

“It is not known what substances were introduced into the river through these outlets into the Oder. It is possible that this accumulation of highly hazardous substances has produced this rather than another effect,” said Szczerba.

The first reports of dead fish on the Oder appeared as early as March but were downplayed by the Polish water management services. It was not until August when the country’s largest media reported the ecological catastrophe, that interest was aroused.

To date, it has not been established who is to blame for the poisoning of the river, nor what caused the mass deaths of fish – until now, mesitylene, mercury and toxic algae have been cited as possible causes.

The Polish prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation to find those responsible for poisoning the river. Tens of tons of dead animals have been retrieved, the process of aerating the river has begun, and the Polish prime minister has dismissed the president of Wody Polskie, Przemysław Daca.


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