MEPs call for stricter laws on mining waste
The European Parliament's Environment Committee has voted in favour of strict controls on mining waste.Rejecting the derogations taken by Member States governments last year, the Committee called for an inventory of closed sites to be established by every Member State; for rehabilitation or renovation to take place at the waste producers expense; and for financial guarantees to be given on new sites, and all land affected by the new site, during and after use of the site.
The Environment Committee voted by 36 in favour to 5 against.
During the debate prior to the vote, rapporteur Jonas Sjostedt expressed his displeasure with the common position adopted by the Council whereby certain countries would grant themselves exceptions to the rules.
"The Council has created new categories of waste and multiplied the national derogations It has set the bar far too low. I don't want big holes in the net. The exceptions envisaged by the Council are unacceptable," he said.
The MEPs also tightened up the conditions for allowing waste to be dumped in rivers and seas as well as the classification for the most dangerous facilities.
The rules are designed to prevent such accidents as in Romania in 2000 and Spain in 1998 where mining waste containing heavy metals or cyanide was released into the environment.
In all, it is estimated that mining waste accounts for about 29% of the total waste generated by the EU each year.
By David Hopkins
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