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Tonnes of dead fish: Unprecedented pesticide pollution in Maritsa river, Bulgaria

Christian Fernsby |
The level of pesticide pollution of the Maritsa River has never been higher, tonnes of fish are dead.

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This was announced before the media today by Marin Marinov, head of the Monitoring Directorate with the East Aegean River Basin Directorate, at a joint press conference of district governor Dani Kanazireva and directors Stefan Shilev of Plovdiv's Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water and Kamen Yankov of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency.

The press conference took place after multiple reports of dead fish in large amounts floating in two rivers in southern Bulgaria, Maritsa and Chaya, were submitted to the authorities during the weekend.

Samples have been taken at 19 locations in the Pazardjik-Plovdiv region, and the water has been tested for 86 agents that could cause such toxic pollution.

Cyanides, arsenic, mercury, dissolved oxygen and undissolved substances all gave negative results.

However, the experts measured a twice-than-normal concentration of two pesticides in the Pishmanka River which flows into the Maritsa.

The two substances are highly toxic, and are used for plant protection, Marinov explained.

The monitoring will continue with monthly sampling of the river waters.

Tonnes of fish is dead; the total damage caused is yet to be calculated.