News Digest Item
09 Feb 2018

Pollution from coal mining of Berlin’s main river Spree comes to the fore

Tageszeitung (taz) / Tagesspiegel

The pollution of the City of Berlin’s main river Spree with sulphate stemming from coal mining activities in the neighbouring federal state of Brandenburg prompts reactions by local authorities, Claudius Prösser writes in the Tageszeitung (taz). The waterworks of the city Frankfurt an der Oder in Brandenburg plan to upgrade a water treatment plant to clear the region’s water from sulphate, which in higher concentrations can be harmful for sensitive consumers, such as the very young, very old or sick, Prösser says. The city wants to hold mining companies from the Lusatia region, such as Leag, accountable for the ten-million euro investment, saying it wants to “cite the damages caused by mining and see how lawmakers and those responsible will react”. Prösser says similar moves have not happened yet in the much larger German capital Berlin, “but who knows for how long – there’s no end of lignite mining activities in sight”.
In a separate article, Stefan Jacobs reports for the Tagesspiegel that a former open cast lignite mine in Brandenburg will soon be flooded and become Brandenburg’s largest body of water. The “Ostsee” will cover 19 square kilometres [Please note: corrects earlier figure of 19 million square kilometres] near the city of Cottbus, about 70 kilometres south of Berlin, and operator Leag estimates that filling the pit with water from the river Spree could take up to six years. Critics say the artificial lake will increase the risk for Berlin of higher sulphate concentrations in its drinking water supply.

Find the taz article in German here and the Tagesspiegel article in German here.

See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.

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