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Polluted River Mulde, Bitterfeld, Germany

Polluted River Mulde, Bitterfeld, Germany

E820/0067

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Credit

SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The polluted River Mulde, a tributary of the Elbe, at Bitterfeld, Germany. Bitterfeld is the site of one of the largest chemical complexes in eastern Europe, a producer of basic chemicals, aluminium, pesticides, dyes & plastics. Under Communist control until 1990, the Bitterfeld Chemical Combine had reputedly discharged some 200,000 cubic metres of untreated waste water per day into the Mulde, to be carried via the Elbe through Hamburg into the North Sea. The effluent included toxic heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium & lead, and untreated acids. The cost of cleaning-up east Germany following reunification will be enormous.

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