"Roma communities driven from Romania's booming city of Cluj-Napoca say the authorities treat them like human garbage. Pollution from a nearby landfill is damaging their health."
"Beside the airport on the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca, one of Romania's fastest growing cities, lies an enormous landfill site. As you fly in, it's easy to miss the multicolored roofs scattered between rolling green turf and mounds of waste. But at ground level, the area is teeming with life. Horse-drawn carts cross paths with empty garbage trucks returning to the city. Barefoot children run between makeshift wooden houses, and crows circle overhead.
This is Pata Rat, the country's biggest landfill and long one of its most glaring environmental sins. For decades, pollution leached from untreated waste and garbage fires blazed, occasionally killing the occupants of those wooden shacks.
Under pressure from the European Union, the city began work on closing the site in 2015. Some 2.5 million metric tons (2.8 million US tons) of waste, accumulated over 70 years and covering an area the size of 27 football pitches were turfed over, and at the end of 2019, the local authorities declared Pata Rat "history.""