Friday, March 20, 2009

Romania must close 65 polluting landfills to avoid EC punishment

BUCHAREST, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Romania must close the remaining 65 non-ecological landfills by mid-July this year, in order to avoid the launch of infringement procedure by the European Commission (EC), said on Thursday Environment Minister Nicolae Nemirschi.

"I believe we are close to seeing the launch of the infringement procedure by the EC on July 16, 2009, unless we finish closing the 129 non-ecological landfills of the country, that is we manage to close the 65 holes that remained," Nemirschi said during a debate held at the Parliament Palace.

According to the pledges taken by Romania before the EU, by July 16, 2009, all polluting garbage deposits must be shut down or Romania will risk fines of up to 200,000 euros (253,000 U.S. dollars) per day. Given the situation, the environment minister urged the local authorities to find quick solutions to resolve the problem.

The relevant ministry now estimates that 93 percent of the garbage deposits in Romania do not meet the community standards.

According to recent statistics from the EC Statistics Bureau Eurostat, a Romanian citizen came to produce some 379 kilograms of domestic waste, with the garbage having been almost entirely deposited, and with only 1 percent of this quantity of waste having been recycled.

This places Romania at the tail end in the European Union. The EU member states with the highest quantities of waste collected in the landfills were Bulgaria (100 percent), Romania (99 percent), Lithuania (96 percent), Malta (93 percent) and Poland (90 percent).

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