Poland rejects toxic waste shipped from El Salvador due to be destroyed in southern town

Poland has decided to refuse a toxic waste shipment from El Salvador that was to be destroyed at an incineration plant in a southern town, environment officials said Monday, after the local community raised concerns.

The 69 tons of liquid and solid waste, and contaminated earth, from a pesticide plant in El Salvador is en route by sea, where it was to be burned at the SARP Industries plant in Dabrowa Gornicza this month.

Environment Minister Maciej Grabowski said after talks at the ministry that the plant director decided against accepting the waste.

Grabowski pointed to protests by residents, who argue that the presence and the processing of the waste will add to the already polluted air of the industrial, coal mining town.

"Despite the security of the processes at the plant, it has not been possible to dispel the concerns of public opinion," Grabowski said.

In El Salvador, the waste had been linked to a high incidence of kidney disease in the town of San Luis Talpa, where it was found.

The majority of San Luis Talpa's 27,000 inhabitants suffer chronic kidney disease, and at least 54 deaths from the ailment have been registered. The Health Ministry in El Salvador has linked agriculture chemicals to incidence of the kidney disease.

Polish Deputy Environment Minister Janusz Ostapiuk suggested the waste could be sent back to El Salvador or to some other European country.