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Freshwater pollution


A strategic plan for freshwater published by the UNEP

Since it was founded in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the world’s authority responsible for determining the environmental agenda, promoting the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development at the United Nations, and acting as a refence in the defence of the global environment.

The UNEP encourages partnerships to protect the environment by inciting, informing and allowing nations and their populations to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.


In its strategic plan, the UNEP proposes three directions:

  • Data, monitoring and assessment: establishing a solid scientific basis for facilitating diagnostics and assessments of the freshwater environment through national and local data collections, modelling and observation;
  • Transforming data into usable information such as decision-aids: using the scientific base to establish standardised guidelines on the global scale and implication in countries and at different scales to set up partnerships to co-design and disseminate tools and methodologies to deal with water-related problems.
  • Support action: help countries to implement technology and innovation, including social processes, and promote and demonstrate nature-based solutions for priority water-related problems.

For more information


A toxic alga responsible for the death of more than 100 tonnes of fish in the Oder

A dead fish lies in the shallow waters of the Oder, a river on the German-Polish border, at Lebus, in Germany on Thursday 18 August 2022. — Patrick Pleul/AP/SIPA.

The guilty micro-algae, also called “golden algae”, is frequent in estuaries and normally develops in briny water whose salt content is lower than that of the sea. The fact that it has developed to such an extent in the freshwater of the Oder indicates abnormal salinity in the river, possibly caused by industrial activity. According to experts, the high level of salt may also have been favoured by low water levels and high temperatures. In recent years, the Oder was known to be a clean river and the home of around forty species of fishes.

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