Denmark's plan to release 290,000 cubic metres of raw sewage into the Baltic Sea north of Copenhagen has triggered outrage on both sides of the Øresund Strait.
Following an outcry among Danish and Swedish citizens and politicians, Copenhagen's environmental mayor, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, said she had asked Hofor, the utility company, to postpone the controversial release until autumn.
Niels Paarup-Petersen, a Swedish MP from the Centre Party, ventured that the sewage plan was just the latest in a long list of insults Denmark had hurled at its northern neighbour.
“We’ve been served s*it sandwich after s*it sandwich over the last couple of years, but we've never been served so much s*it in one go as now,” Paarup-Petersen told national broadcaster SVT. “You can say that the relationship is pretty s*itty already and has been such almost since 2015,” he added.
Copenhagen politician Jacob Næsager of the Conservative party, called the approval of the plan astonishing.
“Many people want to swim in the Øresund, and I think it is extremely disgusting that people literally have to swim in other people's s*it,” he told Danish Radio.
Fellow city politician Finn Rudaizky of the Danish People's Party called the plan “utterly crazy”.
Mette Annelie Rasmussen of the Social Liberal party pledged to find a “good green solution” until autumn to protect biodiversity and bathing water.
Der kom en løsning idag😉 sagen om udledning af spildevand udsættes til efteråret. Nu skal vi finde en god grøn løsning, der beskytter biodiversiteten og badevandet. Glad og i arbejdstøjet💪 #kloakgate #dkgreen #grønbetydernu #københavnerliv #dkpol #dkmedier @radikale pic.twitter.com/26wgbOvNWR— MetteAnnelie (@mette_annelie) May 24, 2020
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered at Skovshoved, where the dumping was slated to take place, according to Søren Søndergaard of the Red-Green Alliance.
Deltager sammen med et par hundrede andre i demonstration i Skovshoved Havn mod udledning af spildevand i Øresund. Bifald til beskeden om at udledningen foreløbig er udskudt til efteråret, men den skal stoppes helt! #dkpol pic.twitter.com/oLhjLzTJJh— Søren Søndergaard (@SrenSndergaard3) May 24, 2020
The news also triggered a massive outcry on social media, where the hashtag #Cloakagate was trending.
Copenhagen's environmental mayor, Ninna Hedeager Olsen, said she would now launch ask a team of external experts in law and the environment to investigate why the city's civil servants believed it was right to authorise the discharge, adding that it was important to investigate it “at a fundamental level”.
Øresund, also known as the Sound, forms the Danish-Swedish border, separating the Danish province of Zealand from Sweden's Skåne. The strait is 118 kilometres long, and its width varies from 4 kilometres to 28 kilometres. The Øresund has over 4 million residents, several conurbations such as Greater Copenhagen and Greater Malmö, and one of Scandinavia's highest population densities.