Time for change!

The environmental catastrophe on the Oder River has illustrated in an extremely painful way the errors and weaknesses of the water management and environmental protection system in Poland. We demand that from the lesson of this costly crisis systemic conclusions be drawn. An apology from the Prime Minister of RP and symbolic resignations are not enough. It is important that together, with the participation of public debate, use the crisis for needed and real systemic changes!

17.08.2022 – As Polish environmental organisations active in the coalition Time for the Oder and the Coalition Save the Rivers we DEMAND:

AN IMMEDIATE STOP OF ALL REGULATORY WORK AND PLANS on the Oder. The prolonged lack of information about the main source of the river’s poisoning and experts’ opinions about the possible accumulation of multiple causes – including the triggering of pollutants from bottom sediments during the large-scale ongoing regulatory works – point to the urgent need to suspend them. This suspension should last at least until the causes of the disaster are clarified and a full recovery plan for the river’s ecosystem is prepared.

URGENT PREPARATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A RENATURATION PROGRAMME for the Oder and its Valley. The current ecological disaster on the Oder is not only the most visible dead fish, but also the destruction of many other organisms and the disruption of the river’s ecosystem balance. In order to rescue the situation, a programme – developed on the basis of scientific knowledge among experts – is needed to renaturate the Oder and increase its resilience.

INSPECTING RIVERS INTO A CONSTANT MONITORING NETWORK by installing on all major rivers in Poland automatic stations for the measurement of basic physical and chemical parameters with a data transmission system, which will allow early detection of emerging ecological imbalances.

SYSTEMIC STRENGTHENING OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SERVICES. During the environmental catastrophe, Polish services and the system monitoring the quality of the environment, including waters, failed. We would like to remind you that in 2019, the competences to manage waters, including rivers, were taken away from the Ministry of Environment (today: Ministry of Climate and Environment) and transferred to the Ministry of Infrastructure, which is not able to take care of the state of Polish rivers and waters, as it is focused on the implementation of hydrotechnical and navigation investments. Furthermore, the decree of the Ministry of Infrastructure of 25 June 2021 has led to the abandonment of permanent monitoring of a number of important indicators of the state of the aquatic environment, which has directly contributed to the delay in detecting changes in water parameters indicating the poisoning of the Oder. Continuation of this pathological state will mean further deterioration of the water environment and recurrence of ecological disasters on rivers.

More information in the PDF.