What’s to be done with Toxic Waste?


Toxic waste is one of the most dangerous legacies of modern society. It comprises materials which even in tiny amounts can poison human beings and the environment. These materials include heavy metals like mercury and arsenic, as well as asbestos or dioxins. Germany alone produces over 25 million tons of toxic waste every year, mainly in industrial facilities and incineration plants. And these materials remain poisonous for all eternity. How do we deal with our toxic waste – and where can we store it safely?

The town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen near Leipzig shows what happens when toxic waste is simply dumped in the environment. For over a century, there, highly poisonous industrial waste has been polluting the soil; the groundwater now has to be continuously purified. And every day we still produce more toxic waste. The film visits landfill operators, researchers and geologists, who are looking for a safe solution for our hazardous heritage. The optimum goal would be to produce less toxic waste and recycle more of it – and to deposit the rest securely for all time.

Written and directed by Eva Schultes // Camera: Michael Kern // Sound: Steven Altig, Sias van Zyl // Film editor: Maximilian Narkovic // Graphics: Andreas Hougardy // Music: Thomas Wolter // Narrator: Petra Konradi // Production assistant: Tanja Winkler // Production management: Katja Sträter, Jochen Papke (MDR) // Producers: Sarah Zierul, Thomas Weidenbach // Commissioning editors for MDR: Peggy Grunwald, Daniel Schlechter, Daniel Vogelsberg

  • YEAR 2020
  • LENGTH 45 minutes