Dioxin: a profitable export

March 20, 1991

HAMBURG — Filter dust containing dioxin is being exported from steelworks in Western Europe to Poland, Greenpeace has discovered.

Under the misleading name "zinc concentrate", 31,000 tonnes of filter dusts from West European steelworks contaminated with cadmium, lead, chromium, arsenic and dioxin, have reached Poland since 1989 via the Duisburg waste recycling transportation company, HTA.

Some 25,000 tonnes have already been processed for recovery of the approximately 20% zinc constituent at the Boleslaw smelting works in Silesia.

Boleslaw received 80 marks per tonne of waste; HTA took back the recovered zinc clinker and sold it on the German market for approximately 1000 marks per tonne. A total of over 360,000 tonnes are intended to be supplied to Poland over years.

The Boleslaw works operates without waste gas filters so poisons enter the environment uncontrolled. It appears that processing the dusts in Silesia has caused contamination there, through cadmium alone, of some 300 tonnes.

Six thousand tonnes of HTA's wastes are at the moment on open tips in Szczecin harbour. A further 1700 tonnes, following intervention by Greenpeace, are being held by the port police in Rotterdam. — Greenpeace/PEGASUS

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