News Digest Item
12 Jan 2018

Coal mining waste products may pollute Berlin waters


Sulphates unearthed by open pit mining in the eastern German coal region Lusatia could lead to a surge in diarrhoea cases in the capital Berlin, environmental organisation NABU says, based on an analysis by the Brandenburg State Office for Mining, Geology and Raw Materials (LBGR). “Both active and retired open pit mines leak sulphates that the river Spree flushes from Lusatia to Berlin,” a NABU press release says. While sulphate is not poisonous, it could cause diarrhoea and vomiting in larger doses, especially in infants and toddlers, and put a strain on waterborne species, the conservationist organisation says. The LBGR has confirmed suspicions that sulphate concentration in the river Spree and other water bodies near the lignite mining region have increased in recent years and now are over the threshold for clean water. The LBGR concludes that “a reduction in active mining activities” could contribute to abating the pollution, NABU says.

Find the press release in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.

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