Items dropped by refugees as they arrived in Finland. (Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

In the Finnish border town of Tornio, busloads of refugees — mostly Iraqis, but also Afghans, Syrians and an array of Africans — arrived each day, their last stop on long journeys across Europe by foot, rail, bus and even ferry.

Stepping off the buses, people would look around, put on jackets and light cigarettes, but many also did something else as they made their way to a border check: They discarded handfuls of documents that were useless, or perhaps a liability, now that they’d arrived at their final stop. As previously reported:

Until now, only about 3,000 refugees reached Finland most years in the orderly processes established by the United Nations, the European Union and Finland itself after World War II. Finnish officials estimate that 30,000 people will arrive by the end of the year, or perhaps it will be 50,000.

In early October,Washington Post staffers saw people dropping these little stacks of paper into the damp grass by the bus station, and picked up some of the trash. Here is what we found.

Photos by The Washington Post's Matt McClain.







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