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Siemianowice Śląskie. Today, the decision is made to investigate the fire at the landfill

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Prosecutors cannot yet enter the illegal waste dump in Siemianowice Śląskie. Firefighters are still working there. However, a decision to initiate an investigation should be made on Monday. For now, it is not decided which unit will supervise these proceedings. The case of the illegal landfill in Siemianowice is already one of the threads of a large investigation into the garbage mafia, which has been ongoing for several years at the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Katowice. Charges were brought against over 70 people, also in the thread regarding Siemianowice.

The fire broke out on Friday morning at ul. Liberation in the Siemianowice district of Michałkowice. It covered the entire landfill – approx. 6 thousand. m2, which gathered, among others, chemicals. Plumes of black smoke were visible from many kilometers away. On Friday afternoon, firefighters announced that the situation was under control. It continued to burn out over the weekend. These activities continue on Monday morning.

Katarzyna Bryla, deputy district prosecutor in Siemianowice Śląskie, said that activities at the fire site are not possible for now – the firefighting operation is still ongoing there, investigators are waiting for firefighters to hand over the area to them.

Read also: An explosion and a ball of fire over a burning landfill with a barrel in it

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– Under the supervision of our prosecutor's office, the police collect evidence and, among other things, interview witnesses. Issues related to who will supervise these proceedings – us or the Regional Prosecutor's Office – are being determined – said prosecutor Bryla.

He has been the subject of another investigation for several years

The case of the illegal landfill in Siemianowice has been the subject of a prosecutor's investigation for several years. She was included in a large investigation into the garbage mafia, supervised by the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Katowice. So far, 73 people have been charged with illegal storage, transport and legalization of waste by various entities.

Read also: “We should take a compass and make a circle with a radius of at least 20 kilometers. There is a danger there.”

– The subject of this procedure is the storage of waste, including: in Siemianowice Śląskie, as well as over 30 other landfills in the Silesian agglomeration and other places in Poland. In the case of the landfill in Siemianowice Śląskie, individual persons are also suspected in this respect, said Michał Binkiewicz, spokesman for the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Katowice.

On Monday morning, 28 fire brigades and 80 rescuers were involved in post-fire activities. Firefighters are extinguishing the fire and are also conducting operations on watercourses into which pollutants from the extinguished fire have entered. Sorption dams were placed there to capture pollutants.

Crisis staff meeting

On Monday morning, the Silesian Voivode, Marek Wójcik, convened a meeting of the crisis staff with the participation of representatives of the State Fire Service, the Provincial Inspectorate of Environmental Protection, the State Fisheries Guard and Polish Waters.

According to the estimates of the authorities of Siemianowice Śląskie, at the illegal landfill at ul. Several thousand tons of various substances, as well as similar amounts of plastic waste, were illegally stored in various containers. The city's mayor, Rafał Piech, announced on Saturday that these included: petroleum substances, solvents or paints.

SEE ALSO: Thousands of tons of plastic and chemicals burned. “This landfill was illegal”

Fire in Siemianowice Śląskie Adam/Contact 24

Scientists on the effects of the fire

Samples from the fire site will be analyzed by scientists from the University of Silesia in Katowice. As Dominika Dębowska, professor of this university from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, informed TVN24 in an interview, the natural consequences of the event depend “on what is burned, what waste was burned, at what rate it spread.”

– Climatic factors are also taken into account, but it is also necessary to determine the scale of the entire fire, i.e. the place to which the leachate or cloud of pollutants will reach – she said.

Professor Dębowska emphasized that the fire in Siemianowice Śląskie “is not an isolated case.” – Various types of waste incineration are commonly practiced, both industrial and municipal waste. It is difficult to determine the number (of this type of fires – ed.), because some places (…) are known and publicized. However, there are also smaller arsons and smaller fires that (…) are not widely known – she noted.

In turn, M.Eng. Wojciech Rykała from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Silesia noted in an interview with a TVN24 reporter that “we still do not have appropriate regulations or conditions to counteract this type of dangerous situations.” He emphasized that pollution of watercourses “poses a potential threat to the health and life of residents who may, for example, draw water from wells and nearby farms that may manage this water from the river.”

He warned that the fire could cause “long-term pollution of the nearby environment.” – Our research shows that such fires (…) lead to the accumulation of compounds that are most dangerous to the environment and humans, and this is a long-term problem – added Rykała.

311 illegal landfills throughout Poland. The government has a plan

When asked about what the ministry wants to do with similar landfills in other places in the country, Anita Sowińska said that there are 311 such illegal landfills.

– They are described very precisely, we have made an inventory. Currently, at the Ministry of Climate and Environment, we are working on solutions to improve the prosecution of criminals. We already have some ideas and the team at the ministry is working on such solutions. I think that in the fall we will be ready to propose specific changes to the law, noted the deputy head of the Ministry of Climate.

Fire in Siemianowice Śląskie

Fire in Siemianowice Śląskie Contact 24/ Krzysztof

The deputy minister also emphasized the need to “go to the source, i.e. not only to improve the prosecution of criminals, but also to prevent the creation of new landfills, especially hazardous substances.” – Solutions such as extended producer responsibility are needed here, so that producers do not hand over this waste to unverified companies – emphasized Anita Sowińska.

Main photo source: captain Mateusz Krzystański, State Fire Service

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