Waste from Britain which is smuggled into Romania is to blame for air pollution in Bucharest, the acting environment minister has claimed.
Costel Alexe alleged Britain was a source of the rubbish, which enters Romania illegally and is then either dumped or incinerated illegally by waste disposal companies.
Last weekend, Bucharest suffered from severe air pollution, with pollution levels in one area of the city exceeding the safety level by 10 times.
Authorities on Tuesday checked companies in Bucharest and the surrounding areas that collect and manage waste which they suspect to be involved in the massive pollution in Bucharest.
Alexe said on Wednesday that a police investigation had found that the thick, particle-laden smoke came from the burning of rubbish that had been illegally imported into the country, often disguised as household items.
“Police have investigated waste collection companies because of shipments of rubbish through the port of Constanta disguised as household items, which end up on the city’s dumps or are burnt,” the minister told Libertatea.
He said that in recent weeks, 25 containers, each carrying 20 tons of waste from Britain entered Romania via the Black Sea port of Constanta.
They are then transported to companies in the village of Afumati and nearby and incinerated causing the pollution.
“Only yesterday we sent seven containers back to the UK. Waste disposal there costs 400 pounds a ton, while in Romania it costs 30-40 euros,”he said.
Afumati, a town e of 8,100 people is just 17 kilometers northeast of Bucharest. Local residents reported that waste had been burned there at the weekend at a scrap metal yard near the town’s old cemetery, politiknews reported on Thursday.