Illegal German waste dumps targeted

Eastern states call for action to prevent criminals from "picking up, cashing in, clearing off"

Pressure is growing in Germany for curbs on illegal waste landfills with the announcement today of a draft law to be considered by the upper parliamentary house, the Bundesrat. The eastern state of Brandenburg, which is proposing the law, said new rules were needed because criminals were "picking up, cashing in and clearing off," leaving taxpayers to pay for clean-ups while reputable waste companies were being driven out of the market.

Under Germany's political system, states can propose laws as well as the federal government. Where this occurs, proposals are first considered by the Bundesrat, but must then be approved by the lower parliamentary house, the Bundestag.

In the case of Brandenburg's proposal, the government has already proposed similar new controls on waste landfilling so its chances of becoming law are uncertain. The initiative will nevertheless increase political pressure for action, sources told ENDS Daily today.

Illegal landfills are widespread in Germany, the Brandenburg environment ministry claims, and particularly in eastern states. It estimates that there are at least 50 large illegal landfills in Brandenburg alone. Loopholes in existing federal laws are to blame, the ministry says, in particular a 12-month period allowed before sites must comply with environmental permits and the fact that waste disposal firms are not required to set aside financial reserves.

Follow Up:
Brandenburg environment ministry, tel: +49 331 8660, and press release.

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