R7: Help the Odra river revive and be free-flowing again
Help the Odra river revive and be free-flowing again
Draft text of the proposal of the joint Polish-German resolution on Odra river
EGP Copenhagen 2022
The Odra is one of the last free-flowing rivers in Europe. As a river left
relatively untouched by major human interventions, the Odra maintains extensive
flood plains and wetlands that are home to numerous endangered species of
animals and plants.
Due to the ecological catastrophe which caused a massive fish and mollusks die-
off in the summer of 2022, the entire ecosystem is now severely damaged. Over
300 tons of dead fish, clams and snails were recovered on the German and Polish
sides. Many more sank to the ground.
This disaster was clearly caused by human activities, as the report of the
German Expert Commission on the Odra catastrophe demonstrates. The sources of
contamination are currently under further investigation. What is certain
however, is that highly saline waters were discharged in the upper river in
large quantities. This allowed the Prymnesium parvum algae to multiply rapidly,
since it flourishes in brackish waters. The algae produced massive amounts of
blossoms which covered the breathing organs of fish and mollusks, causing their
slow and painful death through suffocation. Heat, stagnant water in retention
basins, and low water levels have further aggravated the consequences of this
Full responsibility should be taken by the Polish authorities who disregarded
the alarm protocol established by the International Commission for the
Protection of the Odra River against Pollution (ICPO) in case of environmental
calamities. Action should have been taken upon alarm signals of upcoming
disaster. There were many.
We call on Poland and Germany to intensify the bilateral cooperation with
regards to clarifying the causes of this disaster. We demand the reasons to be
fully explained and the results of investigations to be made fully transparent
and public by German and Polish authorities. We call on the Polish local and
national authorities to bring all those responsible to justice.
It will probably take years for the river to recover. We must do everything we
can to support its recovery and protect the river from any further damage.
- AM-40-1 Miljöpartiet de gröna
- AM-43-1 Miljöpartiet de gröna
- AM-35-1 Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens
Thus, we demand that all works on the river should be stopped and the plan for
the regulation of the river agreed by Germany and Poland in 2015 be urgently
reviewed. The deepening of the Odra as planned by the Polish ‘Odra Vistula Flood
Management Project’ threatens the unique river landscape, the “Lower Odra
Valley” national park in Germany and the “Lower Odra Valley Landscape
Conversation Park” on the Polish river side. The ongoing works aimed at
“modernizing” the river are in fact another ecological disaster. According to a
legal expertise commissioned by the "Greens/EFA" group in the European
Parliament, the works are inconsistent with the FFH Directive, the European
Habitats Directive and the European Water Framework Directive, and violate the
rules of the European Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.
- AM-49-1 Miljöpartiet de gröna
- AM-49-2 Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens
- AM-51-1 GroenLinks
- AM-51-2 GroenLinks
- AM-51-3 Esquerra Verda
Our goal should be the protection of our river ecosystems as stated in European
Law, not their destruction. Therefore, we call upon the European Commission, the
World Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank not to allocate any funds
for works on the Odra. European money intended for flood protection is currently
being misused to transform the entire river into a waterway, which will
permanently damage the river’s ecosystem.
We call on Poland and Germany to renegotiate the German-Polish agreement on
water flow management of the Odra river of 2015 in the light of the ongoing
climate crisis, the recent ecological disaster, the European water framework
directive and recent scientific expertise.
We call on the responsible authorities in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic
to install a joint cross-border monitoring system for water quality and
biodiversity along the river; to ensure that data is regularly published online;
and to build up a trilateral warning system, based on experiences made at the
river Rhine after the chemical disaster of 1985.
We call on relevant authorities as well as the European Commission to change the
current system of wastewater discharges based on static quotas towards one that
takes into account the pollution levels in the river.
Finally, we call on the Polish national authorities to establish a new national
park covering the entire area of the Lower Odra Valley and to allow the
establishment of a cross-border national park encompassing this unique natural
The resolution has been created as the response to the environmental crime that took place in the summer of this year on the Odra river. It caused a massive fish and mollusks die-off and severely damaged the entire ecosystem of the river. Over 300 tons of dead fish, clams and snails were recovered on both German and Polish sides. While many more sank to the ground.
The ecological catastrophe was caused by human activities, as the report of the German Expert Commission on the Odra catastrophe demonstrates. The sources of contamination are currently under further investigation. What is certain however, is that highly saline waters were discharged in the upper river in large quantities which allowed the Prymnesium parvum algae to multiply rapidly and produce massive amounts of blossoms that covered the breathing organs of fish and mollusks, causing their slow and painful death through suffocation. Heat, stagnant water in retention basins, and low water levels have further aggravated the consequences of this disaster.
This resolution is to support Polish and German Greens efforts and their bilateral cooperation and pursuit to revive the Odra river as well as to take necessary measures to prevent such situations from occurring in the future.
- AM-5-1 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)
- AM-19-1 (Miljöpartiet de gröna)
- AM-22-1 (BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen)
- AM-27-1 (GroenLinks)
- AM-28-1 (BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen)
- AM-31-1 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)
- AM-33-1 (BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen)
- AM-34-1 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)
- AM-35-1 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)
- AM-40-1 (Miljöpartiet de gröna)
- AM-43-1 (Miljöpartiet de gröna)
- AM-49-1 (Miljöpartiet de gröna)
- AM-49-2 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)
- AM-51-1 (GroenLinks)
- AM-51-2 (GroenLinks)
- AM-51-3 (Esquerra Verda)
- AM-61-1 (BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen)
- AM-63-1 (BÜNDNIS 90/Die Grünen)
- AM-67-1 (Oikologoi Prasinoi / Ecologist Greens)