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Smoldering Mounds of Trash Obstruct Ukraine’s Road to Recovery

  • Official inertia helps illegal dumps proliferate countrywide
  • Veolia among operators constrained by illicit waste collection

The gray glacier of refuse across the field from Natalia Kryshtalyuk’s home reveals a mounting obstacle to Ukraine’s development: the country torn by war is also drowning in its own waste.

The site near Kryshtalyuk’s duplex in the outskirts of Lviv is one of about 36,000 legal and illegal dumps whose combined contents would cover all of occupied Crimea and the disputed eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk if laid out in a continuous blanket. As if Ukraine doesn’t have enough to fret about with attacks from pro-Russian rebels in the east and western donors’ frustration with economic incompetence, the former Soviet republic is losing the struggle against trash.