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    Czech Cities Demand Poland Take Back Smuggled Hazardous Waste

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    Thousands of litres of chemicals from Poland, dumped in bordering Czech towns, are threatening to make relations between the two countries toxic. The local authorities have turned to the Ministry of the Environment for help but Poland who struggles with such waste from western European countries does not seem eager to take it back.

    The Czech police have accused one Czech and 15 Poles of illegally bringing hazardous waste to the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic, the website iDnes reports. According to the report, thousands of litres of dangerous chemicals are being illegally stored in the towns of Frýdek-Místek and Bohumín.

    “The investigation clearly shows that waste producers, both companies and individuals, are from Poland. Therefore, we asked the Ministry of Environment to intervene, approach the Polish side and return the waste to the country of its origin, Poland, according to European directives”, Deputy Mayor of Bohumín Lumír Macura said.

    Barrels with about 150,000 litres of hazardous waste were placed in storage there, leased by a private owner, who has no money to dispose of them. 

    READ MORE: WATCH Oil Tanker Collision Leaks TOXIC Chemicals Into Houston Ship Channel

    While the investigation continues, the Ministry of Environment has urged cities to wait until the perpetrator is determined, noting that it was premature to speculate who should take the hazardous stocks. The officials also called on municipalities to evaluate whether the situation poses an immediate threat to the environment. While there is no danger for Bohumín the town does not want to pay for disposal of the waste. The outlet points out that the disposal might hit a skid as local incinerators are fully loaded. 

    However, the first tonnes of hazardous stocks have already been taken from Frýdek-Místek to an incinerator nearby. The analysis detected sixteen different types of waste, including paints, varnishes, solvents, and acids.

    Although Poland has not yet commented on the demand, its Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk earlier indicated that Warsaw would not be willing to take the chemicals back. 

    "We also have a problem with cross-border transport of hazardous waste. We suspect that the waste was brought to Poland from the Czech Republic, Great Britain, or Germany”, he said.

    The outlet noted that the scope of this often illegal business is huge in the Czech Republic, promising considerable profits to organisers. It points out that the disposal of hazardous waste is three times cheaper in the Czech Republic or Poland than in western European countries. Poles imported about 700,000 tonnes of waste from abroad last year. Meanwhile, the waste that has ended up in the Czech Republic might be only a fraction of what the so-called waste mafia brought to landfills in Poland. According to iDnes, tyres come from Italy and the UK, while oil and cleaning products are transported in trucks from the UK and Germany. The latter also imports chemicals. 

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    Tags:
    smuggling, investigation, dangerous chemicals, chemicals, waste, Czech Republic, Poland
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