European Commission takes Romania to the EU Court of Justice over illegal landfills

The European Commission (EC) decided to take Romania to the EU Court of Justice because the local authorities have failed to close and rehabilitate 68 illegal landfills, “which represent a serious risk for human health and the environment,” the EC announced in a statement.

“Despite earlier warnings from the Commission, Romania has failed to take measures against 68 non-compliant landfills, as required by EU Landfill Directive. Under the Directive, Member States must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste. Romania was obliged to close and rehabilitate these substandard municipal and industrial landfills by July 16, 2009,” reads the statement.

In September 2015, the EC urged the Romanian authorities to adequately deal with 109 uncontrolled sites that, although not in operation, were still posing a threat to human health and the environment. Romania made some progress but, for 68 landfills, the necessary measures were still not completed by December 2016.

“In an effort to urge Romania to speed up the process, the Commission is bringing the Romanian authorities before the Court of Justice of the EU.”

Similar measures have been taken against six other Member States, namely Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Slovakia. The Court has already issued judgments condemning Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Spain.

According to the European Commission, there are many different ways of disposing of waste. Burying it in the ground, known as “landfilling”, is the least environmentally sustainable and should be kept to the absolute minimum.

EC: Resource efficiency in Romania is low

Irina Popescu, [email protected]

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