Budapest, January 6 (MTI) – The government had all the hazardous waste removed from a depot in Budapest’s 9th district, the government commissioner for Pest County said on Wednesday after visiting the site.
A total of 2,493 tonnes of hazardous waste has been removed from the depot in Illatos Road, of which 1,870 tonnes has been destroyed and the remaining will be destroyed during the summer, he told a press conference.
The environmental cleanup of the depot is costing 1.66 billion forints (EUR 5.3m) net, Tarnai added.
The removal of the hazardous waste from Illatos Road has resolved a problem that originally started as many as 140 years ago and “for long decades, everybody knew what the situation was” at the depot but nobody was willing to act on it, he said. The first barrels of hazardous waste were removed from the depot on April 28, 2015, he added.
The waste is being destroyed in Gyor, Dorog and Tiszaujvaros and at a site abroad, he said.
The opposition Egyutt party said the immediate danger has been eliminated by the removal of barrels but there are still areas where the waste has contaminated the soil and this also needs to be cleaned up. Krisztina Baranyi, the party’s local council representative, told the press that according to some estimates, the soil is contaminated to a depth of 6-8 metres. She expressed hope that the government will handle this in a responsible manner.
The pollution was first discovered last April and most of the hazardous waste was removed from the site by the end of May. The agriculture ministry said then that the pollution could have been caused by improper chemical usage or fodder illegally obtained by the former state chemical works privatised in 1993. The company which owned the site has been under liquidation since 2007. Its main products included sulphuric acid, pesticides, artificial fertilizers and chlorides among others.