Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Bucharest has sent back hundreds of tonnes of rubbish to the UK which they said were being falsely imported as toys and second-hand goods to get them into Romania to be illegally burned.
The Environment Minister of Romania Costel Alexe has announced that the rubbish had been sent back to the UK after air pollution in the country’s capital Bucharest reached as high as 1,000 times the legal value.
Alexe said that the pollution levels had been caused by the illegal burning of rubbish brought into the country from the rest of Europe.
He said: “Dense smoke and hazardous particles appeared in the air after burning contraband rubbish transported here by several UK companies.
“We cannot say that the authorities are involved in this but the problem must be solved and the ones in charge found.”
According to local media, there are tens of tonnes of rubbish that is sent to Romania from the UK to be burnt, under the false declaration of them being second-hand goods or toys.
The rubbish is reportedly sent through Constanta harbour and then taken on by companies who burn it.
Alexe said: “Over the past weeks, 25 containers have arrived, each weighing at least 20 tons. Yesterday, the police and the environmental protection staff sent seven containers back to the UK.”
He then explained that in the UK it costs 400 GBP to dispose of one ton of rubbish while in Romania it costs 30-40 EUR (26-34 GBP) per tonne.
The minister added: “The world must understand now that in Romania we cannot bring rubbish from other countries, and by no means in the form of household appliances. We do not tolerate such conduct, or the scourge of corruption so that Romania ends up being Europe’s rubbish landfill.”
The Romanian authorities are set to carry out wide-ranging controls on waste disposal companies, with the police reportedly implementing nine search warrants in Bucharest and the Ilfov and Giurgiu counties, in a criminal case regarding crimes that harm the environment.
Two arrests were made and the suspects were held for 24 hours.
The investigation is still ongoing and activists organised a masked protest in front of the Ministry of the Environment to demand measures be taken to lower pollution levels.
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