Protests have been growing in recent months over the stench from landfill sites around Moscow, overflowing with millions of tons of rubbish.
Authorities have now decided on a plan to tackle the problem - generating energy by burning the waste instead. But their course of action has also sparked public fears over pollution.
Russia produces almost 70 million tons of rubbish per year, according to Greenpeace's estimates. The sorting of trash only takes place in around 100 of the country's 4,000 towns and cities, and most of the waste builds up for decades in tips.
"Russia seems to be fulfilling the prediction... that mankind will die from choking on its own rubbish," said Alexei Kiselyov, of Greenpeace Russia.
The amount that Russians throw away has grown 30 percent in the last decade, Greenpeace says. Two percent is incinerated, seven percent is recycled and the rest is dumped in landfills.
Around Moscow, 24 landfill sites have been closed over the last five years because they were outdated and dangerous, the regional authorities said, while the remaining 15 - enormous mountains of malodorous rubbish open to the elements - are still filling up with unsorted waste.
"Most of them were created 50 years ago without any technology to treat the gases and polluted water" that emerge from the waste, said the press service of the regional ecology ministry.
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