Unable Was I, Ere I Saw Elbe
As if being battered by severe storms wasn’t enough, Central and Eastern Europe now face another threat: pollution unleashed by heavy flooding. In addition to concerns about contamination and disease from animal carcasses swept along by the floods, fears are now growing that toxic chemicals could be seeping from an inundated Czech chemical plant and washing through Germany in the high waters of the River Elbe. A cloud of deadly chlorine gas was released when the Spolana plant was flooded last week, and now there are allegations that other chemicals in the plant, including dioxins and mercury, might not have been stored correctly and could be leaking into the river. German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin plans to visit the plant next week to try to determine the extent of the possible danger.