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New EU Waste Rules May Turn Poor Countries Into Dumps

Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek.
by Staff Writers
Prague (AFP) Mar 09, 2006
Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek will protest in Brussels Thursday against proposed changes in EU rules which he fears will lead to poorer EU countries being used as waste dumping grounds by their richer neighbours, ministry spokeswoman Karolina Sulova said Wednesday.

Having already experienced an influx of waste shipped in lorries from Germany and dumped in the Czech Republic over the last month, Ambrozek fears that a proposed new European framework directive on waste could pave the way for systematic shipments "from economically stronger countries to weaker ones," in the future, Sulova told AFP.

EU environment ministers are due to have a general discussion about the prevention and recycling of waste and the proposed waste directive during their Thursday meeting. A decision on the directive is not expected, Sulova added.

Ambrozek is also seeking to rally neighbours Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland to take a united stand against the proposed EU waste rules at a meeting of the Visegrad four in May.

"So far there have been one or two cases of similar dumping of waste in Slovakia, I do not know about cases in Hungary and Poland," Sulova added.

Czech environmental inspectors estimate that around 15,000 tonnes of waste has been shipped from Germany and dumped in the Czech Republic over the last few weeks.

While German authorities have agreed it should be returned, administrative issues still have to be solved and in some cases adequate proof prepared before the German waste can be returned, Sulova said.

In one of the most notorious cases, waste from Germany was illegally dumped at a former farm at Libceves in north Bohemia by a Czech company, she said, adding, "It is not just the fault of the Germans."

Sulova said the influx of German waste was caused by stricter environmental legislation introduced in Germany towards the end of last year which made it a lot more financially attractive for firms to dump it across the border in the Czech Republic.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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