Poland lodges complaint with European Commission against Germany over imported waste

Poland lodges complaint with European Commission against Germany over imported waste

Polish taxpayers 'cannot pay for management of German garbage,' says minister for culture and environment

By Jo Harper

WARSAW (AA) – Poland has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against Germany over illegally imported waste, Poland’s minister for culture and environment said in Warsaw on Wednesday.

The complaint is the first stage towards possible legal action at the Court of Justice of the European Union after Berlin and local authorities failed to respond to a removal request, Anna Moskwa said.

The Polish taxpayers "cannot pay for […] the management of German garbage," she told reporters in Warsaw. “We are waiting for German trucks that will enter Poland in the coming days to take back the garbage,” Moskwa said, adding that this is about 35,000 tons of waste abandoned in seven landfills.

“The government of Civic Platform (PO) and People’s Party (PSL) created an El Dorado for garbage in Poland,” Moskwa said, referring to the government led by today’s opposition parties up to 2015.

“The (Law and Justice) PiS government has declared a decisive war on garbage mafias,” she said.

Over 5,000 tons of chemical waste burned down a storage hall in western Poland last weekend.

Germany's Environment Ministry said it had not yet received a complaint, though spokesperson Christopher Stolzenberg added that illegal waste exports were an issue the German government viewed "with concern."

Racing to meet an EU recycling target, the waste market in Poland has grown in recent years, but there are fears that Poland is becoming a dumping ground for plastic waste and that a “trash mafia” has grown up to manage illegal burning. Greenpeace says Western countries often use poorer nations to avoid regulatory frameworks.

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