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Environmental activists not to blame for fish die-off in Strasbourg

The coloring of fountains in the city of Strasbourg by environmental activists did not cause the death of fish in the area’s rivers, as reported on social networks. French authorities confirmed that the substance used in this protest was not harmful.

Posts distributed on social networks in Albania claim that due to a protest by environmentalists who colored the waters of the fountains in the city of Strasbourg with phosphorescent paint, an ecological disaster was created.

“In France, environmental activists repainted the water in fountains and canals green and wanted to draw public attention to the problem of mass extinction. “Because of their action, the fish started to die,” a Facebook user wrote on September 21. The post is accompanied by several photos of dead fish in the rivers of Strasbourg, France and the surrounding area.

The same post has been shared by other groups that have put into play the actions of environmentalists who by protesting cause more damage to the environment.

The event is actually true, but misinterpreted.

For months, the activists of “Extinction Rebellion Strasbourg”, the organization that undertook the action of painting 18 fountains and canals in the Strasbourg area, have been protesting against the conservation of 42,000 tons of toxic waste (asbestos, arsenic, cyanide) in an old potash mine. . The Stocamine project raises many doubts because the site approved by the French government, Wittelsheim, is located near one of the largest water sources in Europe, risking, according to protesters, the possible contamination of groundwater and the drinking water of 7 million Swiss, French and Germans.

On September 16, activists threw a green substance into the water of the tourist town’s main fountains as well as some of the surrounding canals as a way to attract the attention of citizens.

The action also caused many voices against, and one of them was the mayor of Colmar, a city near Strasbourg, Eric Straumann, elected by the conservative Republican party. In a fiery Facebook post published on Sunday and reported by Le Parisien, the elected official shared a close-up image of a dead fish and claimed that an individual had been arrested. This is a photo that went viral and was also shared in the Albanian post of the event.

The statement of the mayor of Colmar seems to have been incorrect. The activists themselves , who 2 years ago had undertaken a similar action, explained that the product to color the water is biodegradable and completely harmless to fauna and flora, used to detect underground leaks and in medical environments.

French media reports and verifications also indicate that the product poured into the Launch in Colmar, fluorescein, is not toxic. The product is used as a visual marker to track underground waterways.

In relation to this concern, the Departmental Service of the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB) carried out investigations on the day that the discoloration of the waters occurred. Dissolved oxygen level, pH, conductivity and degree of oxygen saturation were measured upstream and downstream of the product spill.

“There is no influence of fluorescein on these parameters,” emphasizes Eric Krauser, head of service of the OFB department in the Haut-Rhin region.

Additionally, fish swimming on the surface of the water had been reported dead days before the activists’ action.

Their death is more related to the climatic conditions of the last days. A hot spell was followed by heavy rainfall and may have created temporary contamination of the watercourse.


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