EC urges Romania to close, seal and restore 48 illegal landfills

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The European Commission has urged Romania today to close, seal and ecologically restore 48 illegal landfills and to comply with the judgement of the Court of Justice of the EU of 18 October 2018.

Under the Waste Framework 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 substandard landfills (municipal and industrial landfills) by 16 July 2009. Due to slow progress, the Commission referred the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU in February 2017. The judgement of the Court concerns 68 landfills, out of which only 20 have definitely been closed so far.

By January 2020, most of the necessary work for the closure, sealing and regeneration of the rest of the 48 landfills sites had not yet been planned, approved or initiated. Therefore, the Commission is addressing a letter of formal notice following the Court’s judgement. Romania has four months to remedy the situation.

Call to comply with the directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air

The Commission has also called on Romania to comply with the requirements of Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe and reliably measure, inform the public and report about the gravity of air pollution. In particular, Romania has failed to comply with the limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the agglomerations of Bucharest, Brașov, Iași, Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara, and has not taken appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible. The Commission is also seeking clarification on the proper monitoring of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in one agglomeration (Bucharest). High NO2 concentrations pose risk to human health.  Therefore, the Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Romania giving it four months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

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