The Carcinogenic HCB by the Baltic Sea
The Carcinogenic HCB by the Baltic Sea – “Lessons Learned on the management of HCB waste in Poland”
This is not just a story of a crime committed on the environment. It’s a story of people of good will, who couldn’t accept the reality they encountered, and decided to help us change it. In January 2012, we received an e-mail from a concerned citizen of Gdansk
We called this man “The Watchman” since he was a person who wanted to protect the environment, and local inhabitants, that might have been affected by toxic waste.
“I live in New Port district in Gdansk. There is an incinerator there that takes thousands of tons of waste from Ukraine. Hundreds of trucks come there daily, dropping their loads in every available spot in this facility”- he wrote.
“The Watchman”, and other people, who live in the vicinity of this plant kept wondering why waste from Ukraine was transported for over 1000 kilometers to our city. They couldn’t find any information about the transports. The piles of waste kept growing every day to an unprecedented size.
“There is so much of this waste, that it is stored all over the place. It is not sheltered in at all, nor protected from rain or wild animals. The odor there is so awful that you cannot describe it.
I tried to inform local authorities, but no one wants to help. They keep ensuring us that everything is in order. For myself and the other inhabitants of our district, I’m asking you for help.
I cannot reveal my identity, because I’m afraid of possible consequences or even losing my employment”.
We contacted him, and after confirming the facts, we travelled 550 km to Gdansk where we met “The Watchman” personally. He appeared to be an ordinary man, who just wanted to change the reality that surrounds him. He began his fight long before he contacted us, but was denied any help or attention.
At this point, we had some experience with waste management issues in Poland. Our previous experiences with medical waste treatment proved to us that Polish authorities are not professionally prepared to deal with emergency problems concerning waste management. Assuming that local environmental authorities will say “Everything is in order; our inspection didn’t reveal any breaches”, we decided to gather all the necessary information and evidence on our own. The investigation had begun.