THE GERMAN government has announced it is to spend DM2.1m ($1.3m) retrieving and disposing of hazardous waste exported to Romania since 1991, following a personal appeal by the Romanian prime minister Nicolae Vacaroiu to chancellor Helmut Kohl. Two Romanian private companies imported an unknown quantity of pesticides, paints and solvents from the German states of Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt (ECN 10 August 1992).
According to Greenpeace, the waste totalled 2000 tonne. The Romanian government has only tracked down 425 tonne, improperly stored in Sibiu province. Last September Bucharest announced it had accounted for 600 tonne but the difference is thought to have been sold for reuse.
Peter Finger, the German consul in Sibiu, said the waste will be sent back to Germany in the next few weeks. However, Germany has announced once before - in June 1992 - that it was to retrieve some of its waste, but the federal government was thwarted by a refusal by all the lander to foot the bill. The only waste which has managed to reach Germany is a few symbolic barrels transported by Greenpeace trucks last September.
Under German waste disposal law, the lander are responsible for disposing of their own waste within their own borders. German environment minister Klaus Töpfer stressed that 'this is a one-time action' and that, in future, the lander will have to comply with the law.