With violin and guitar: local residents make music for the Oder

Letschin (dpa/bb) – Tim Klotz eagerly prints T-shirts with the “Save Or Die” logo. The citizens’ initiative of the same name organized a large musical chain along the Oder this Sunday. The organizers’ idea: to make music from the source to the mouth to protect the river. Hundreds of residents of the Oder, nature conservationists and friends of the river brought violins, guitars, accordions, conga – others their voices to sing for the restoration and renaturation of the river. Venues included Kienitz, Groß Neuendorf, Zollbrücke, Schwedt and Hohensaaten. Small concerts should also take place in Frankfurt (Oder) and Aurith.

Organizer Steffi Bartel is touched. “I am overwhelmed that so many people have come to the Oder to sing together,” she told the German Press Agency. Polish activists and environmentalists also came to Kienitz on the German side. “There’s an incredible amount of energy going through the water ,” Bartel is convinced.

On Saturday, around 100 German and Polish environmentalists demonstrated in a joint action on the Oder for better protection of the damaged river. Among the participants in the Europe Bridge Neurüdnitz-Siekierki were the transnational alliance “Time for the Oder”, the Polish alliance “Save the Rivers”, the citizens’ alliance “saveoderdie” from communities in the Oderbruch and WWF Germany .

The actors met symbolically on the bridge, said WWF water expert Tobias Schäfer of the dpa. The environmentalists wanted to make it clear that restoring the river ecosystem must now be a priority. In addition, all interventions that could cause additional damage to the river should be avoided.

Since the beginning of August, tons of dead fish have been recovered from the German-Polish border river. Several hundred chemical substances could be responsible for the environmental catastrophe, but the exact cause is still unclear. The final report by a German-Polish group of experts on possible causes should be available by the end of September. Scientists assume that high salinity in the river is a major reason, combined with low water, high temperatures and a toxic species of algae.

“With the campaign, the Polish critical voices should also be heard more,” emphasizes the WWF expert. It was about building a bridge nationwide.

The Kienitz citizens’ initiative “Save Oder Die” has shown solidarity with the “Action Alliance for the Living Oder”. Among other things, the alliance is demanding that politics and administration provide a complete explanation of the environmental catastrophe on the Oder and an immediate halt to the development of the Oder. The place Kienitz belongs to Märkisch-Oderland. The district is around 80 kilometers long on the Oder on the border with Poland and was particularly affected by the massive fish kill.

“All people are called upon to reconnect with nature,” says 49-year-old Tim Klotz at the music campaign for the Oder. He brought his double bass with him. This action by many should only be the beginning, he is convinced. “If we look to the future, we want to mobilize enough people to send a million signatures to Brussels against the Oder expansion.”

Odette Bollfras and her husband Frank also came to the Oder dike. They love the river and are just experiencing the effects of the environmental catastrophe elsewhere. The tourism industry has suffered badly since the fish died, they report. The couple runs a neighborhood shop in Kienitz – the place hasn’t had a supermarket for a long time. Everything that tourists could need is sold – including many regional products. Pensions and campsites are now empty. Both hope that they will make it through the winter.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220903-99-618768/4

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