California officials have filed a lawsuit against retail giant Walmart, alleging the company illegally disposed of hazardous waste at a rate of “more than one million items each year” at landfills across the state.
According to the complaint, some 160,000 pounds of hazardous waste, including lithium batteries, pesticides, aerosol cans and cleaning supplies, have been dumped in each of the past six years. The lawsuit also claims that Walmart ditched “confidential customer information” at those landfills.
“Walmart’s own audits found that the company is dumping hazardous waste at local landfills at a rate of more than one million items each year. From there, these products may seep into the state’s drinking water as toxic pollutants or into the air as dangerous gasses,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. He added that the lawsuit should serve as a warning to the state’s “worst offenders.”
Walmart called the lawsuit “unjustified,” telling CNN it intends to defend itself.
In 2010, the California Attorney General’s Office reached a $25 million settlement with the company over the same issue. However, a 2015 inspection found that Walmart continued to dump waste illegally.
“Despite repeated enforcements against Walmart over the past two decades, it consistently – and knowingly – fails to comply with California’s environmental protection laws,” said Meredith Williams, director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
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