Greenpeace revives Illegal exports debate

Concern over illegal exports of waste electrical goods (e-waste) re-emerged in February, following a Greenpeace investigation.

The environmental NGO fitted a tracking device to an unrepairable television and delivered it to Hampshire County Council’s civic amenity site in Basingstoke. The site’s contractor, Hopkins Recycling, sold the TV to London-firm BJ Electronics. It was then exported to Nigeria.

Greenpeace bought the TV in Nigeria before it could be dumped. Parts would probably have been burnt, emitting heavy metals and dioxins. The story was featured by Sky News and the Independent, both were partners in the investigation.

Under the transfrontier shipment of waste Regulations 2007, hazardous waste cannot be exported for disposal.

Hampshire and the Environment Agency are investigating the incident. The Agency is currently investigating over a dozen operators and several large exporters for illegal e-waste exports to Africa.

Last year, ENDS revealed a third of English councils could not say where their waste is disposed (ENDS Report 402, pp 28-30 ).

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