11 people in court in UK over e-waste dumping in developing countries – EA

The Environment Agency (EA) of the UK, says 11 people have been taken to court as part of its investigation of e-waste exports from Britain to other parts of the world.

Following enquiries by ghanabusinessnews.com regarding the outcome of the EA’s investigation into e-waste dumping into Ghana by some British companies, the EA’s Senior Media Officer Scarlett Elworthy said “I can confirm that the waste case that you are following has gone to court. There was an initial hearing in November 2010 and in total 11 defendants are due back in court later this month.”

According to her “the investigation is part of the biggest investigation ever carried out by the Environment Agency into the illegal export of electrical waste from the UK to developing countries.”

Her response however, did not say anything about the specific case of Ghana.

The eleven people, however she says have been charged with shipping prohibited waste under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 and European Waste Shipment Regulations 2006.

“The law is clear – hazardous waste electricals, including everyday items such as televisions and refrigerators, cannot be sent overseas for recovery or disposal. As well as containing precious metals such as gold, copper and aluminium – electrical waste can also harbour hazardous substances including mercury and lead that are harmful to people and the environment,” she indicates,  adding that “there is evidence to suggest that illegally exported electrical waste from the UK is ending up on waste sites in Africa, causing harm to people and the environment.”

According to the EA over six million electrical items, amounting to one million tones, are thrown away in the UK every year.

Half of the 18 investigations the Environment Agency’s National Crime Team is currently conducting into the illegal export of waste are in relation to electrical waste. The remaining nine investigations include the illegal export of tyres and household waste, it added.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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