Polish ‘trash mafia’ paid millions to accept Britain’s plastic waste – but how much ends up in flames?

When the fire took hold of the rubbish dump in an industrial area outside Warsaw, the column of dense, black smoke was visible from more than 30 miles away.

Firefighters from the town of Zgierz, 80 miles southwest of the Polish capital, fought the blaze for hours as tons of soot and toxins were sent high into the atmosphere on a vortex of super-heated air, carpeting the surrounding countryside.

It is now two months since the last flames were extinguished at Zgierz, but as the Telegraph approached the site the astringent stench of scorched plastic was still overwhelming, catching in the throat and nostrils.

Up close, mounds of melted plastic bottles and bags are still heaped along the skyline,…

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