The German Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) issued an announcement regarding the ecological disaster in the Oder river. Scientists have detected in the water from the Prymnesium parvum river – a toxic species of algae from the group of so-called golden algae, which grows only in saline water and never exists in the Oder. “In Frankfurt (Oder), significantly elevated, unnatural salt loads have been measured in the upper reaches of the river for about two weeks,” the release reads.
Scientists, we read, “are following the trail of a strong toxin that can be produced by the Prymnesium parvum species of algae” and “detected large amounts of these algae in water samples from the Odra River”. Prymnesium parvum is a toxic species of golden algae that is responsible for fatal fish poisoning in seas and oceans and in brackish waters.
According to German scientists, “the species of algae is actually only found in brackish water and requires a salt level that is naturally absent in the endangered section of the Oder”.
– For about two weeks, the official measuring station of the State Environmental Protection Office in Frankfurt (Oder) has been measuring significantly elevated, unnatural salt loads that must have arisen in the upper reaches of the river. (…) There are many dams in the upper reaches of the Odra and its tributaries, where there is practically no water exchange, especially at the present low water levels. If highly saline, warm and nutrient-rich water, such as that from industrial discharges, were to remain in such reservoirs for a long time, it would be equivalent to a bioreactor for growing this type of algae – explains Dr. Jan Koehler, who conducts research on algae, quoted in the release.
According to the institute, “if it’s suspicion [o śnięciu ryb z powodu Prymnesium parvum – red.] is confirmed, this is not a natural phenomenon, but definitely a man-made problem “.
“We hope to keep the evidence”
– Climate change is man-made, we will more and more often experience droughts with far too low water levels, low oxygen levels and too high water temperatures. At low water levels, the concentration of harmful substances increases, as they are then transported in a much smaller volume of water. This extreme condition puts a heavy strain on fish communities. These conditions put many animals at risk – if combined with other dangers, such as toxic algae blooms or chemical contamination, it can quickly destroy entire ecosystems in water bodies, explains Dr. Tobias Goldhammer.
IGB deputy director Dr. Thomas Mehner stresses that “if this disaster turns out to be the result of an environmental crime, then of course it should be rigorously prosecuted and punished.” – We still hope to preserve the evidence, clarify and make all necessary efforts to save the unique ecosystem of the Odra River. This certainly includes the development of a specific action plan to help the Odra River after this ecological disaster – says the scientist.
Moscow: Research has confirmed the presence of golden algae in the Oder water
The presence of golden algae in the Oder river, informed the Minister of Climate and Environment Anna Moscow – also confirmed scientists from the Polish Inland Fisheries Institute.
Expert: The brine waters drained into the Odra River create favorable conditions for the growth of golden algae
ABOUT deadly for fish Prymnesium parvum Iwona Jasser, a phytoplankton specialist from the University of Warsaw, said in an interview with PAP.
– The drainage of brine water and the inflow of water rich in biogenic compounds (e.g. water from sewage treatment plants) have a positive effect on the conditions for the development of various atypical algae. Additionally, we have a high air temperature and a very low water level. This means that there are no natural factors that could dilute the poison. The slow flow of water also favors algae such as Prymnesium, which have a relatively slow growth rate, she said.
As she added, “we know that brine waters are discharged into the Oder on a regular basis, which creates favorable conditions for the growth of golden algae.”
ABOUT golden algae and the results of research by German scientists Dr. Alicja Pawelec, WWF water protection specialist, also spoke on TVN24. – Where does such salinity in the Oder come from? Among other things, from post-mining waters. This could mean that there has been a lot of post-mine discharge in recent weeks. These are salty waters, which may have been stored in some dam reservoir on the Odra River, and then suddenly drained. This algae in the stagnant water of the reservoir developed very well, and then someone drained the water with this algae and killed us 534 kilometers of the river – said the expert.
Polish Waters published on Friday data on the “control of illegal departures into rivers throughout Poland” carried out from September 2021. They show, inter alia, that only 282 illegal outlets were found in the Odra basin
Main photo source: LISI NIESNER / Reuters / Forum