Nine arrested in UK's biggest e-waste investigation
By Nicole Kobie
Posted on 8 Oct 2010 at 12:02
UK authorities have busted an e-waste crime ring, and arrested nine people for dumping old mobiles, televisions and computers in Nigeria and Ghana.
The two-year-long investigation was the Environment Agency's largest to date, following its first successful e-waste prosecution in July.
“Over the past two years, painstaking intelligence work by Environment Agency officers has uncovered a web of individuals and companies that appear to be making considerable sums of money by exporting electrical waste overseas," said Andy Higham, the Environment Agency’s national environmental crime team manager.
The case highlights the increasing problem of what to do with unwanted electronics, gadgets and computers, as six million electrical devices are binned each year, weighing in at one million tonnes.
Exporters of broken electricals put at risk the lives of those who work on waste sites in developing countries
Higham noted that it's always against the law to export broken electrical equipment out of the UK, which instead must be recycled properly under EU regulations.
“Exporters of broken electricals put at risk the lives of those who work on waste sites in developing countries," noted Higham. "These are often children who are paid a pittance to dismantle products containing hazardous waste."
“The last thing we want is our waste causing harm to people or the environment overseas,” he added. "Illegal exporters also avoid the costs of recycling in the UK and undermine law-abiding business."
The agency was unable to give more details of the case, pending a November court date. The nine accused were charged under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and European Waste Shipment Regulations 2006 and face up to two years in prison and unlimited fines.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
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