Hundreds of dead fish have been fished out of the waters of the Ina River. The incident occurred after heavy rainfall caused untreated sewage from a local treatment plant to enter the river. “Death flows here. You have to see it to understand the scale – says one of the residents.
The Ina River is about 130 km long. It is a right tributary of the Oder. It flows through Stargard, and then Goleniów, to finally end its course in the Oder near Szczecin. It is several dozen kilometers away from Stargard to its mouth in the Oder River.
Sewage went into the river
On June 17, the sewage treatment plant in Stargard, after a storm that passed over the city, released huge amounts of rainwater mixed with sewage. We didn’t have to wait long for the effects. Just two days later, anglers began to catch hundreds of kilograms of dead fish. Two weeks later, a funeral rafting took place on this river as a protest against the poisoning of the river.
– We try to take care of this river, plant trees here, organize an Ina cleaning campaign every year. And here comes one more rain and we have a graveyard from the river. It takes a minimum of 10-15 years for the river to return to its original state after such a situation – emphasizes one of the people involved in the Ina defense campaign.
According to the protesters, the river is being poisoned by the sewage treatment plant in Stargard. In this city of almost 100,000, rainwater and stormwater are connected to the municipal sewage system. Everything flows to the sewage treatment plant. In the case of storms, which occur more and more often, the treatment plant is not able to accept such a large amount of water, so rainwater together with sewage goes to the Ina River.
“Death flows here. You have to see it to understand the scale. When there is a storm, heavy rain, it is certain that the next day the fish will swim upside down – says Mariusz Ławniczak. – 60 kilometers of the river died. This is an unacceptable fact, but here we have “Odra bis”. We are on the estuary of the Oder River. During the Odra disaster, a lot of fish escaped here – adds Artur Furdyna, a hydrobiologist.
The president of the sewage treatment plant recognizes the problem, but as he claims, hundreds of millions of zlotys would be needed to fix the situation. – As a company, as a city, we do everything to minimize this problem – promises Piotr Tomczak from the Municipal Municipal Enterprise.
“I watched in horror as the water ran out”
Several dozen kilometers to the south of the Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, in the Drawskie Lake District, the Drawa River flows, which, although not directly, also flows into the Oder. There are numerous lakes, including those unique in Europe – lobelia lakes. Unfortunately, life is gradually dying out here as well. Małgorzata is terrified by what she observes every year. The real drama has been going on here for two years.
– 14 years ago we fell in love with this place completely. This is a very unspoilt area that is hard to find anymore. A few years ago there was an expert here who inspected these lakes. It turns out that it is not the lack of rainfall or light winters, but above all human intervention that affects their condition – says Małgorzata Dar.
Małgorzata came here after 40 years of living in England, together with her English husband, they found their place on earth. They are both retired and they wanted to stay with this place for the rest of their lives. The advantage was the silence, the forest and the house on the shore of the lake. Unfortunately, for two years the lake, and with it the animals, have been dying out en masse.
“I watched in horror as the water ran out. I don’t like coming here anymore because my heart breaks. If there is no water, there will be no us. We put a lot of time and emotions into this place. We were sure that this is our place on earth and this is where we will spend our lives. The water dies silently, but quickly, adds Mrs. Małgorzata.
A lot of water also disappeared from the nearby Krzemno lake. However, not only the water disappears, but also the life in it. Unique in terms of fauna and flora, the lakes that occur here until recently had crystal clear water.
“It’s all dying out here.” The plants have no color, it’s scary what’s going on here. There were big fish here, we stroked pikes. At the moment there is not much left – says Emil Kozak, a diving instructor. Everything that ends up in Polish rivers will end up in the sea where we like to rest.
“Water is not sewage. It is not the receiver of all our sins. It’s a life-giving fluid. We should look differently at water, thanks to which we can live – emphasizes Artur Furdyna, a hydrobiologist. And he adds: – It must be admitted that nature defends itself for a long time, it dies slowly. The consequences of some of our sins come late. Grandparents did something wrong, but it was their grandchildren who suffered the consequences. Today, as a hydrobiologist, I can assure you that we are in times when those who spoil will consume the effects of mistakes.