Failing to comply with landfill regulations has landed France and Italy in trouble with the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
France will have to explain before the ECJ why it has 8,434 illegal and uncontrolled landfills, which the European Commission says it has identified in the countrys 95 district waste plans.
Brussels has asked judges to order France to increase its controls over these dumps, saying they are supposed to be strictly controlled and supervised under the Waste Framework and Landfill Directives.
The commission is concerned about potential pollution of surface water, groundwater, soil and air, as well as bad smells and pests.
The commission has also launched a separate case over environmental problems associated with the Bistade landfill in the northern Pas de Calais district. A few metres from homes, it has generated bad odours and harmed residents health.
Meanwhile, the Italian government could be censured by the ECJ for allowing the operation in Italy of nearly 5,000 illegal or uncontrolled landfills, in breach of EU law.
The commission has referred Italy to the court, citing a report by the national forest police, the Corpo Forestale dello Stato. It alleges that 700 uncontrolled dumps may contain hazardous waste. The commission said: It appears that no action has ever been taken to prevent environmental damage to soil, water and air in these landfills, breaking the Waste Framework, Hazardous Waste and Landfill Directives. Brussels is also asking judges to order Italy to stop Veronas Ca di Capri landfill accepting hazardous waste such as PCBs, while possessing a non-hazardous materials permit.