UP to 22 Spanish companies are being investigated for environmental crimes due to the incorrect treatment of hazardous electrical waste residue.

The firms are based in the provinces of Alicante (six), Valencia (four), Murcia (six), Almeria (two), and one each in Malaga, Albacete, Ciudad Real and Mallorca.

An international probe that lasted for over a year was launched by the environmental branch of the Guardia Civil, the Seprona, after discovering that nearly 600 tonnes of electrical compressors had been shipped from Spain to Pakistan without being adequately decontaminated first.

The incorrect treatment of the dangerous substances found in these devices is said to have caused the emission of more than 35,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Electrical Recycling
Photo by PxHere

Over 15,000 more of these compressors have been found at the headquarters of the companies under investigation.

In most cases, the Seprona discovered that the companies were not officially authorised to treat electrical or electronic device refuse.

Even worse, the method most commonly used by these firms to dispose of the compressors is known as ‘cannibalising’ – smashing open the devices or cutting cables to extract the copper and other valuable pieces from inside.

The unwanted remains were then shipped out to a processing plant in Pakistan without the correct paperwork.

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