Polluted legacy

the Silver Lake on the outskirts of Bitterfeld, a major industrial town in Saxony-Anhalt, gives proof of the extent of damage caused by polluting industries in the former eastern Germany. The water in the lake is shallow and filthy with no green vegetation growing near it. The ground around the lake is stained with dark patches. The lake has been receiving the waste from Bitterfeld's two chemical plants and the local mines as far back as the 19th century.

The two factories used to produce fluids for developing photographs, which were exported throughout the old communist bloc. In fact, the lake derives its name from the toxic chemicals which make its water shine like silver. After reunification of Germany, both the chemical plants have been closed. The German government is still pouring in money to clean up the mess in Bitterfeld.According to Klaus Suchauk, director of Initiavkeisz Bitterfeld-Wolfen, an environmental organisation responsible for the clean-up operation, "Twenty-five per cent of the land (in Bitterfeld) can no longer be used, such is the extent of pollution."