Eastern Europe’s contamination legacy a ‘disaster’

A combined legacy of neglect and corruption has left many eastern European countries with huge pollution problems, according to a leading contamination expert at BEX.

BEX, the contaminated land seminar theatre for Sustainabilitylive!, heard from Neil Foster of WSP Environmental on the plight of many former communist countries.

Focusing on Romania he explained that during communism environmentalism was ignored and after its fall corruption also meant nothing was done.

Showing slides of tar lagoons metres from a small housing development Mr Foster explained the countries oil and gas waste management was ‘horrific’.

He said: “This picture was taken a long time ago it was taken recently.

“Romania has the oldest gas finery in Europe, but across the country it now has just the oldest equipment.”

While Mr Foster explained a lack of incentives for developers to remediate brownfield sites was hampering regeneration in a country with a vast surplus of land.

He did explain there were benefits for individual and businesses who were willing to invest in the country.

The European Union plans to invest £5.6bn between 2007 and 2013 and while legislation might not be up to western Europe the country is fast adopting it with an eye on succession to the union.

He also added that the country had no landfill, what-so-ever, before 2004 and was investing extensively in the infrastructure for it now.

Luke Walsh

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