Waste shipments have come under scrutiny following the illegal shipment of waste electrical and electronic goods by a Glasgow-based businessman.
Waste operator Henry Chukwu , the Director of Favour Limited, was fined £675 at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 5 January for the illegal shipment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to Nigeria, including televisions, monitors and PC desktop units, on 2nd May 2014.
Under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007, it is illegal to export certain waste electrical and electronic equipment for recovery to a country to which the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) decision does not apply.
In May 2014, SEPA received notification, under the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations, that a container was being returned from Tilbury, England as it was suspected of containing items of WEEE. Once returned, the contents were inspected by SEPA Officers and 103 electrical appliances were determined by SEPA to be waste, as they failed either the visual assessment or had incomplete or no safety testing records.
During previous interactions with Mr Chukwu, SEPA had emphasised the importance of having sufficient procedures in place to ensure he did not export waste electrical goods to Nigeria. As a result of this breach in regulations, SEPA officers took the decision to refer this case to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration.
SEPA’s Reporting Officer, Matthew Pask said:
“The export of waste electrical equipment to Africa can lead to major environmental problems that have been widely reported on. It has the potential to cause significant harm to the environment and human health if the waste is not processed, handled and disposed of in an appropriate manner, as hazardous components such as mercury, lead and other harmful materials within electronic waste have the potential to cause serious pollution to the environment and harm to human health.
“SEPA has a responsibility to ensure waste exports are carried out legally and as this case shows, will use all appropriate steps to ensure exporters comply with the law. Mr Chukwu was given significant advice and guidance from SEPA to ensure exports from his site were compliant and this was not followed.
“SEPA is always available to provide advice and assistance and I hope that this successful prosecution will result in all individuals and businesses involved in the export of waste from Scotland, looking closely at their legal responsibilities to ensure that exports comply with the law.”