LUBLIN, POLAND - The export of waste to Poland is booming. Among these exports, illegal shipments frequently occur. Companies from Germany, the UK, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden have illegally exported waste to Poland in recent years.

A cross-border independent team of investigative journalists tries to uncover the waste mafia, as Poland's Prime Minister labeled it in 2018. The team has traced several dirty shipments from their countries of origin all the way to the illegal landfills in Poland where they were dumped and - in some cases - burned, posing a potential threat to human health and the environment. 

In Poland, the journalists visited seven illegal landfills where they found tens of thousands of tons of waste from across Europe. Most of the illegal waste comprised plastics from households and supermarkets. In other cases the team found large quantities of industrial waste. In some cases the journalists even found particularly problematic industrial waste such as ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) and other hazardous chemicals.

In their video which they produced for German magazine "Fluter" they investigated one illegal landfill near the city of Lublin.

Photo credit: Agata Szymanska-Medina

Team members

Marius Münstermann

Marius Münstermann is a freelance journalist based in Germany. 

Agata Szymanska-Medina

Agata Szymanska-Medina is a Polish photojournalist based in Berlin, Germany. 

Michael Billig

Michael Billig is a freelance journalist from Leipzig. 

€7.000 allocated on 18/06/2021


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