Uncollected rubbish is piling up on the streets of the southern Bosnian city of Mostar – one of the Balkan nation’s main tourist destinations – since residents began blocking access to the city’s sole landfill.

They claim that it poses serious health and environmental risks.

Piles of rubbish in the streets of Mostar, Bosnia
Piles of rubbish in the streets (Denis Leko/FENA via AP)

The landfill, located in a residential area, has operated since the 1960s.

It is supposed to be for non-hazardous household waste but protesters say authorities in recent years have allowed businesses to dump hazardous animal and medical waste and wastewater treatment sludge there.

Piles of rubbish in the streets of Mostar, Bosnia
The waste is piling up (Denis Leko/FENA via AP)

Several hundred protesters started blocking access to the landfill 10 days ago, demanding it be decontaminated.

The protests were sparked by leaked water treatment test results that reportedly indicated a strong likelihood of dangerous concentrations in the sludge of highly toxic chemical pollutants known as PCBs.