Not only hazardous waste, but also old clothes, used electronic equipment and even food leftovers – all of this is to be stored several hundred meters underground in the Piast-Ziemowit mine in Bieruń (Silesian Voivodeship). Miners working in the mine anonymously report irregularities, and Greenpeace Polska talks about a “huge threat” to the environment.
TVN24 reporter Jerzy Korczyński, who revealed the matter of storing hazardous substances in the Piast-Ziemowit mine, was contacted by miners who informed that the mine workings contained not only waste generated during coal mining, but also garbage that was supposedly disposed of there. from outside, which were to be transported underground.
“The management is lying, the garbage was taken down the mine after the management’s decisions, it was ordered to the branch managers, e.g. manager R. from transport, manager of the GTK branch, i.e. suspended railways. People who worked on it laughed that [to] “garbage action”. They brought carts full of garbage from the carts, took them by train to the sidewalks and dumped them. There’s everything in this garbage. Clothes, rubber boots, keyboards from offices that have been replaced, fire extinguishers that are out of date or used. I would like to add that municipal waste such as plastics, food, papers, everything was brought there and it is lying there. The smell there is really unbearable, it smells like garbage in a landfill. At some point, rats infested it and the crew bought poisons themselves and spread them there,” wrote one of the miners of the Piast-Ziemowit mine in Bieruń.
Greenpeace Polska on the “huge threat”
– This is one of the mines that pour very salty sewage into the Vistula. We did research last year and it is the leader in the amount and salinity of sewage that is discharged into the Vistula – Marta Gregorczyk from Greenpeace Polska told Jerzy Korczyński.
As she added on TVN24, mines must be drained. – When harmful substances and hazardous chemicals are stored underground, they penetrate the soil and are also pumped out and discharged into rivers, in this case the Vistula, and this is a huge threat to the environment, but also to our health – commented Gregorczyk.
Inspectors entered the Piast-Ziemowit mine
As we reported on the tvn24.pl portal on November 9, representatives of the State Mining Authority entered the Piast-Ziemowit mine on Thursday morning. This was confirmed by Roman Sus, director of WUG in Katowice, in an interview with TVN24 reporter Małgorzata Marczok.
– Inspections are carried out by three inspection and section employees, including a person specializing in environmental protection. The inspection will cover both topics related to waste management in the mine and underground workings in order to identify the problem mentioned in the material – explained the director, referring to the information revealed by TVN24 reporter Jerzy Korczyński.
Tons of hazardous waste in the Piast-Ziemowit mine
Jerzy Korczyński obtained recordings from the mine. They show that hazardous waste of various origins is stored in at least two places, several hundred meters underground.
The mine management interviewed by Korczyński claims that they know nothing about the problem. She did not want to comment on the case.
– We will not provide information on this matter now. I don’t know about this garbage. This is a surprise to me. Based on the photos, I can’t clearly say whether this is ours. This is my position. At this moment, I cannot provide more information – commented Krzysztof Krasucki, director of the Piast-Ziemowit mine in Bieruń, briefly on Wednesday.
Even though mine waste dumps are located several hundred meters underground, they pose a huge threat on the surface. The mine is constantly drained. After the containers become unsealed, the substances flow into the drainage channel, from where they are pumped to the surface, and finally flow into the Vistula and have an impact on the pollution of ground and above-ground waters.
SEE THE MATERIAL OF “FACTS” TVN: Tons of waste in the Piast mine in Silesia. The director “is surprised”, PGG argues that they are not dangerous
– These are very dangerous substances. They are not environmentally neutral. These are probably paints, greases and substances that need to be disposed of. The fact that they are deep in the earth makes no difference. These are also dangerous substances for humans and may indirectly affect our health. This material is impressive due to the amount of waste stored, and this is not accidental – said Professor Piotr Skubała from the University of Silesia in Katowice.
Comment by the Polish Mining Group
The TVN24 editorial team asked questions about this matter to the Polish Mining Group and the State Mining Office
– The waste was collected in a safe place outside mining areas and areas where people work. This area was and is constantly monitored by the mine services to ensure that safety is maintained, said Tomasz Głogowski, spokesman for Polska Grupa Górnicza.
He added that “the tender for waste collection has been resolved and is being carried out on an ongoing basis.” – Garbage is regularly brought to the surface and disposed of. The matter will be clarified – concluded Głogowski.
The city’s reaction
The city of Bieruń commented on the TVN24 material. In a message sent to the editorial office, the municipality assures that it “took immediate action in this matter.”
“We have asked both Polska Grupa Górnicza SA and KWK Piast for explanations. The matter will also be immediately reported to the relevant environmental protection authorities. We will monitor the course of this matter on an ongoing basis and respond immediately within our competences,” we read in the statement.
Main photo source: TVN24