The mass death of fish in the Oder worries local residents and politicians.

The Ministry of the Environment in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania expects the effects of the fish kill in the Oder on the Szczecin Lagoon.

It is to be expected that the loads will already reach the mouth of the Oder near Szczecin (Poland) in the evening, depending on wind and current conditions, the ministry wrote in a statement late on Friday evening.

In the course of Saturday, the Western Pomeranian part of the Szczecin Lagoon could also be affected.

As a precaution, the Ministry of Till Backhaus (SPD) therefore called on residents to refrain from fishing in and taking water from the body of water – regardless of use.

The responsible authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are currently preparing water and fish samples.

The investigations into the clarification of the fish kill are ongoing.

Previous laboratory analyzes did not bring any precise information about the pollution of the water and the causes.

Environmental politicians and conservationists rated the fish kill as an environmental disaster.

"Very much increased salt loads"

According to information from Brandenburg's Environment Minister Axel Vogel, the Oder has "very much increased salt loads".

That was "absolutely atypical," said the Green politician on Friday evening on RBB television.

Vogel's ministry said the measured salt loads could be related to the fish kill.

"According to current knowledge, however, it will not be a single factor that caused the fish kill in the Oder," it said in a statement.

The term salt loads refers to salts dissolved in the water.

The ministry explained in the evening that these are the first further results from the Berlin-Brandenburg state laboratory for the daily samples that were taken at the automatic measuring station in Frankfurt (Oder) by Friday.

The results are "not yet fully meaningful and not conclusive".

Further investigation data "in particular on heavy metals, mercury (in other samples) and other elements" are still being clarified in the laboratory and should be available in the coming week.

"Today's data indicate multi-causal relationships, including the currently very low discharge rates and high water temperatures."

With a view to possibly increased mercury levels, Vogel said that this would be checked further.

It could be a local phenomenon.

When asked whether groundwater or drinking water could be contaminated, the minister replied: "We hope not." In any case, it was "a deadly cargo" that had been transported in the river.

But he would not go so far as to see the groundwater resources in danger.

Meanwhile, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) exchanged views with her Polish counterpart.

Lemke wrote on Twitter: "The priority is now to limit damage, protect the population and identify the cause and the potential perpetrator(s)." In Brandenburg, the banks should be cleaned and carcasses collected at the weekend.

Polish Prime Minister fires two civil servants

Dealing with the fish kill triggered personnel consequences in Poland.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki dismissed two top officials because they are said to have reacted too slowly to the death of fish in the Oder.

The head of the water authority and the head of the environmental authority would have to vacate their offices with immediate effect, Morawiecki wrote on Friday via the short message service Twitter.

"I share the fears and outrage over the poisoning of the Oder.

This situation could not have been foreseen in any way, but the response from the relevant authorities should have been quicker.”

In Germany, the federal and state governments openly criticized Poland for not providing information in good time and for not complying with the usual reporting chain for such events.

According to Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the fish kill was apparently caused by the introduction of chemical waste.

"It is likely that a huge amount of chemical waste was dumped into the river, and with full knowledge of the risks and consequences," Morawiecki said in a video message published on Facebook on Friday.

In affected areas on the Oder in Brandenburg, the fire brigade and other forces should collect the carcasses.

On Friday, among other things, many dead animals could still be seen on the bank in the Lower Oder Valley National Park in north-eastern Brandenburg, others were floating in the middle of the river.

Conservationists fear far-reaching consequences for the habitat of many species.

The population is also called upon to avoid any contact with water.

So far, these have been more in the nature of recommendations.

The city of Frankfurt an der Oder announced on Friday evening that it had now issued bans on swimming and fishing, for example.

It can be assumed that contact with water from the Oder is dangerous for humans and animals, it said.