The largest percentage of river fish comes from large carp ponds, which are also part of the hunting ground. Birds such as coots, ducks and geese have been hunted for decades in these fishponds, which are extremely valuable habitats for wetland birds. They are shot with lead shot, which then reaches the water and the surrounding land. Once in the water, lead easily enters the food chain and reaches fish tissues.
“Lead is a highly toxic metal that causes severe anemia and affects the nervous system, bloodstream, liver and kidneys. “Lead poisoning causes lethargy, blindness, paralysis of the lungs and intestinal tract, attack and death, both in animals and humans,” the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia states. According to the research that ornithologists from the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia did in Serbia, about 5.5 tons of lead shot is fired into ponds, lakes and rivers every year! In this way, every year more than 20 million new lead balls reach the environment, which endangers the public health and safety of citizens.
“Instead of biologically valuable and health-safe food, meat contaminated with dangerous substances can reach our plates from the pond. But that is not the end of all troubles. Wetland birds such as swans, geese and ducks feed by filtering food from the bottom and often eat lead shot which they replace with the pebbles they need to digest food. Lead remains in their wolves, or is absorbed in the body through digested food, damages their health and often ends in death “, claims Milan Ružić, executive director of the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia.
Numerous scientific studies around the world indicate the harmfulness of lead in the environment, so this problem is well known to the professional public. In order to preserve human health, water quality and the lives of millions of wild birds, governments in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Greenland adopted an International Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) in 1996. among other things, it provides for a ban on the use of lead shot in aquatic habitats. The Republic of Serbia adopted and regulated the AEWA agreement by a special law only in October 2018, but it is not known whether any measures have been taken since then to reduce or prevent the use of lead shot in our waters.
“We call on the citizens to be careful, and on fish producers to ban the use of lead shot in ponds where food is produced for human use. “Our health has no price, nor do we have a backup environment on which our survival and well-being completely depend,” the Society for the Protection and Study of Birds of Serbia appeals.
Director: Dragan Gmizić
Editing: Zlatko Zlatković
Camera: Silard Kovač