Illegal Hazardous Waste

Significant Number of Illegal Hazardous Waste Landfills Discovered in Serbia in a Short Notice

After hazardous waste landfills were found in the cities of Novi Sad and Obrenovac in December of last year, new illegal hazardous landfills were discovered recently in a village Vukićevici near Obrenovac.

At the end of December of last year, Ministry of Environment has announced that 20 tons of dangerous illegal waste has been found at the landfills near Obrenovac and its neighborhood. Analyses, which have been executed in Vinca Institute, have shown that discovered barrels of illegal waste contained dangerous organic waste, including benzene, toluene and xylene.

Upon respective events, inspection of ecology have found another location with disposed hazardous waste located near the factory called „Hemijska industrija Novi Sad – u stecaju (HINS)“. More than 1000 tons of possible toxic waste was found at the site. The factory premises were rented to the company which had the permit for storage of 32 tons of waste only. The owner of the company has been arrested and further laboratory analysis will show how much of these waste were actually toxic and to which extent.

Ministry of Environment informed the public that these are not isolated cases and they declared their willingness to fight against these illegal landfills containing dangerous waste. Furthermore, they invited citizens to report any suspicious activity related to this matter.

Pursuant to information obtained from the Ministry of Environment, Serbia annually produces approximately between 150-200 thousand tons of hazardous waste, most of that, without processing, since the Republic of Serbia does not poses an infrastructure for processing hazardous waste.

Although origin of founded waste has not been discovered, it may be concluded that conducted activities represents criminal acts against environment; among others – Article 266 of the Criminal Code stipulates that anyone who brings the radioactive or other hazardous materials or dangerous waste to Serbia, who transports, processes, disposes, collects or stores such materials or wastes, shall be punished by prison sentence in a six months to five years period, or with the monetary penalty. The same punishment is prescribed for those who violate air, water or land related regulations, in greater range or in a wider area, by violating regulations on the protection, conservation and improvement of the environment.

It remains to be seen whether the responsible persons will be found and sanctioned, where it will be very interesting to discover the nature of founded waste, the industry which it comes from and the manner it ended up at the discovered landfills.

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