The lower waters of the Rhine, principal waterway of Western Europe, were effectively put in quarantine today (24 June) as a mystery poison floated downstream killing millions of fish.
DEAD FISH: POLICE RIVER PATROLS: LABORATORY SHIP: CARAVAN PARK BESIDE RIVER.
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Background: The lower waters of the Rhine, principal waterway of Western Europe, were effectively put in quarantine today (24 June) as a mystery poison floated downstream killing millions of fish.
Dutch authorities swiftly cut off all drinking water supplies to their main cities that came direct from the river. In Holland and in Rhineland areas of West Germany all campers, farmers, Rhine barge crews and the public at large were warned to keep away from the affected areas of the river.
As millions of dead fish from the German sector floated down into Dutch territory, laboratory tests showed that they had bled at the gills and had been killed by an intestinal infection not caused by bacteria or parasites.
Early theories that the poison was a chemical nerve gas used in insecticides and manufactured in the Rhineland have not yet been confirmed by the German authorities.
Rotterdam and other cities switched to emergency reservoirs for their water supplies. But the Rotterdam authorities said there was no danger of drinking water being affected as no water from that source had been used since Monday afternoon.
In Duesseldorf, officials of the Agriculture ministry said that any one of the 1,000 chemicals could have killed the fish but there had been no reports that it can harm human beings.
The first dead fish were seen last Thursday floating on the surface near Bingen, 120 miles upstream from Duesseldorf. By Sunday the killer wave had reached Duesseldorf itself and last night it eddied into Holland.