The Civil Guard investigates more than 68 people and 30 companies for greenhouse gas emissions
The companies investigated would have emitted more than 76 million kg of CO2 into the atmosphere by not properly managing these gases in vehicles at the end of their useful life.
The release of R134A gas is prohibited by the EU due to its high global warming potential
The operation has been carried out at the request of the Office of the Environment Prosecutor and has been carried out in Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country
The Civil Guard, in the framework of Operation KIGALI, has investigated 68 people linked to 30 companies throughout the national territory for the emission into the atmosphere of refrigerant gas in the inadequate management of vehicles at the end of their useful life. The investigation, in the context of the actions of the Coordinating Office of the Environment and Urban Planning, has focused on the Communities of Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country whose Authorities have provided the data they had available.
Air conditioning systems in motor vehicles use cooling fluids to reduce the temperature of the interior passenger compartment. These substances, depending on their type and composition, can be harmful and contribute to climate warming.
The investigation has focused on monitoring the activity of Vehicle Treatment Centers at the end of their useful life that in their reports had declared amounts close to zero kilograms of recovered R 134A gas and detected emissions equivalent to more than 76 million kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere, which represents an estimated emission of 800 million kilometers traveled by a vehicle.
Technicians from the Office of the Environment and Urban Planning will quantify the damage to the environment caused by the emission.
The greenhouse effect and climate change
The main gases historically used for automotive cooling can be classified into the following groups: CFCs, HFCs (among which R 134A) and HFO.
At the end of the useful life of vehicles equipped with air conditioning systems that use these gases, the refrigerant fluids contained inside their circuits must be properly recovered and managed, according to the legislation. For this, the vehicle owner is obliged to deliver his car to an authorized manager and obtain documentation proving that the waste management will be carried out properly.
Vehicles at the end of their useful life contain a significant amount of contaminants and hazardous waste that must be properly managed. In the case of coolant circuit fluids, their incorrect management would entail the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The operation has been carried out by agents of the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard (Seprona), with the support of EUROPOL in the analysis of communications and with the strategic analysis of documentation to find possible relations with the rest of European countries , as well as with the collaboration of the Autonomous Communities of Madrid, the Basque Country and Catalonia, who have provided data regarding the documentation of the companies investigated.
For more information you can contact the Press Office of the Head of the Nature Protection Service phone 91 5146900.