The Polish government is calling on Germany to repatriate 35,000 tonnes of waste that were illegally shipped to Poland and dumped. Otherwise, Poland's Environment Ministry intends to file a complaint with the European Commission. Poland's deputy environment minister Jacek Ozdoba said in mid-May: "The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the main drivers behind the European Union's current climate policy. Therefore, we expect all the more that concern for the protection of the environment that has been declared so often will be reflected in deeds, and the illegal waste will be removed from the territory of the Republic of Poland in accordance with the law in force."
For years, said deputy minister Ozdoba, German authorities had been shirking their responsibility with regard to the waste, mostly consisting of plastics, which were illegally exported from Germany to Poland. The material is currently located at seven sites, according to Mr Ozdoba. "I hope that Germany will return to dialogue before the complaint is brought," he said. The issue had already been discussed unsuccessfully in bilateral talks more than two years ago. Germany's actions in this matter were "embarrassing", the deputy minister said.
Germany's central government says responsibility lies with the federal states
The German Environment Ministry in Berlin argues that it is the country's state governments, and not the country's federal government, which are responsible for the enforcement of legislation governing transboundary waste shipments. This competence also includes prevention and investigation of illegal waste shipments as well as securing the return shipment of waste illegally exported from their jurisdictions. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for the Environment said that the states involved had contacted the ministry informally regarding the status of the repatriation of the waste that may have been illegally shipped to Poland. "Bringing offenders to justice is the responsibility of the public prosecutors and the courts. The federal government has no competence in this area. As a result, the Environment Ministry has no detailed information on these specific cases," said the ministry spokeswoman.
Read more about the reactions of the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the hazardous waste agency (SAA) of the federal state of Baden-Württembergs here......