Dirty business: What garbage from Germany has to do with the election in Poland

Roman Mackowiak is taking advantage of the sunny weather to get his garden in order before winter.

Dirty business: What garbage from Germany has to do with the election in Poland

Roman Mackowiak is taking advantage of the sunny weather to get his garden in order before winter. He trims the roses and ornamental bushes and collects chestnut leaves that the wind has blown from the side of the road. “My garden has won prizes in the village competition several times, and I even received an award from the district,” says the tall man proudly. "In Sarbia, everyone has tried to keep their yards and houses clean and beautiful."

But then disaster happened: In January 2018, a few trucks rolled past his house and dumped garbage on a property that borders his field. In the months that followed, hundreds of trucks carted around 8,700 tons of garbage to the 600-inhabitant village 80 kilometers north of Poznań in central Poland. The majority of them came from Germany. “Nobody informed us beforehand,” says resident Mackowiak. “If toxic substances end up in the groundwater, we can all get caught up.”

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