STA, 30 July 2020 – Poor wine sales brought on by the coronavirus lockdown not only affected the pockets of winemakers but at least in one case appear to be bad news for the environment as well. After fish began to die off in a stream near Gornja Radgona and other animals were seen behaving as if drunk, analysis showed high amounts of sulphur and alcohol in the water.
Since Monday, local anglers in Gornja Radgona, a town in the idyllic wine country of Slovenske Gorice, have been retrieving dead fish from the Lisjakova Struga stream, a tributary of the Mura river.
While the fish likely died from sulphur molecules tying to the oxygen in the water, analysis conducted for a fishpond feeding from the stream on Monday showed alcohol level as high as 0.47%, while alcohol content in the stream was 0.35%.
The local angling association suspects that somebody had dumped large amounts of wine in the stream or had been cleaning barrels with alcohol and sulphur. Their suspicions stem, in part, from the fact that wine sales tanked during the Covid-19 epidemic.
Franek Radolič of the angling association told the STA that truly large quantities had to have been dumped into the stream considering that the waterway is over 1.5 kilometres long. The association took immediate action, liming the pond and taking measures to raise oxygen levels, but to no avail.
Radolič said that oxygen levels in the water had dropped significantly; whereas there are usually between 5mg and 6mg of oxygen in a litre of water, the levels in Lisjakova Struga dropped to a mere 1mg.
The anglers also said that animals drinking the water from the stream had been behaving unusually, as if they had been drunk, the newspaper Slovenske Novice has reported.
Although a report has been made to the police and the relevant Environment Inspectorate, the anglers doubt that a culprit will be found for what they say is not the first such incident.