Investigated 22 companies that would have polluted the atmosphere with more than 35,000 tons of CO2

They managed waste from electrical and electronic equipment in an irregular way, which caused the emission of harmful gases

The documentation analyzed reveals that nearly 600,000 kilos of compressors have been sent to Pakistan without being able to prove proper decontamination

During a year, 43 companies throughout the Spanish geography have been inspected, where more than 133,000 kilos of compressors have been found that caused contamination

The Civil Guard has investigated 22 companies located in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia, Murcia, Almería, Málaga, Albacete, Ciudad Real and Mallorca, as allegedly responsible for a crime against natural resources and the environment, for continuous acts of pollution , through the treatment and incorrect marketing of hazardous waste from electrical or electronic equipment.

SEPRONA agents have developed the Redivivu operation nationally and internationally for more than a year. During that time, documentation has been examined indicating that almost 600,000 kilos of compressors have been shipped to Pakistan without being able to prove proper decontamination.

In addition, the researchers have located more than 133,000 kilos of compressors (15,019 units) in the inspected companies in Alicante, Valencia, Murcia, Almería, Málaga, Albacete, Ciudad Real and Mallorca.

The total sum of the compressors sent to Pakistan and those found in the national territory would suppose an approximate emission of 35,385 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The investigation began in February 2020 during the inspection of a waste management company, when the agents discovered that the treatment and commercialization that they gave to the components from the treatment for the decontamination of electrical or electronic equipment was totally incorrect.

Suspecting that there could be more companies involved, it was decided to investigate the places of origin and transit of these and other wastes, as well as their final destination. In total, 43 companies were inspected in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia, Murcia, Almería, Málaga, Albacete, Ciudad Real and the islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.

In many of them, non-decontaminated compressors were located and did not have the required authorizations for the treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RAEEs). However, the most common method was that of "cannibalization", which consists of disassembling the appliances by breaking them abruptly or cutting the tubes of the refrigerators directly, in order to remove the copper or other valuable pieces from the interior.

From the study of the documentation, it was found that the destination of the compressors was Pakistan, where they would finally be valued in a dismantling plant for subsequent smelting.

Very harmful and damaging consequences for the environment

The breakage of the compressors of electrical devices or of other components without the appropriate tools, causes the escape of polluting gases into the atmosphere, and the discharge of dangerous oils to the ground and subsoil, with the danger that this entails; in addition, it makes its reuse practically unfeasible.

By way of example, a refrigerator consists of a closed circuit for its operation, and whenever said circuit is released by removing the compressor, approximately 30% of the gases in the appliance are emitted into the atmosphere (approximately 300 grams and 90 are emitted). grams per compressor removed). For the extraction of compressors from air conditioning devices, if carried out in accordance with the law, it is likely that they will not emit gases into the atmosphere (they have a vacuum pump and extraction valve). An air conditioning machine has approximately 700 grams of gases.

22 companies investigated throughout Spain

All the behaviors described above are considered potentially dangerous due to the composition of the emissions and discharges (administratively prohibited) and, furthermore, because such environmental aggressions have been able to cause significant harmful effects.

The Civil Guard has investigated 22 companies located in the provinces of Alicante (6), Valencia (4), Murcia (6), Almería (2), Málaga (1), Albacete (1), Ciudad Real (1) and Mallorca ( 1), as presumably responsible for crimes against natural resources and the environment, for continuous acts of pollution with direct or indirect provocation or realization of emissions or discharges into the atmosphere and the soil, subsoil, prolonged in time, suitable to originate a serious risk to the protected legal asset, as well as an inadequate management, control and / or surveillance of hazardous waste.

Regarding other regulations, outside the Penal Code, there have been violations of Law 22/2011, of July 28, on Waste and Contaminated Soils, Royal Decree 110/2015, of February 20, on Waste Electrical Equipment and Electronic (WEEE's), Royal Decree 115/2017, of February 17, regulates the Marketing and Handling of Fluorinated Gases, as well as provisions of a higher rank such as Directives and Regulations of the European Union or lower as Autonomous Regulations or Local.

Authorities collaborating in the investigation

The actions have been carried out in coordination with the Delegate Prosecutor for the Environment and Urban Planning in Alicante. The study of transboundary shipments of waste is within the framework of the protocol for the operational procedure of collaboration between the General Directorate of the Civil Guard and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

The samples taken of the oil content in compressors have been sent for analysis by the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences of Barcelona.

Upon request, expert reports have been made by the Technical Unit of the Central Office for the Environment and by the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Valencia.

Likewise, it has had the collaboration of Alicante Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition (General Directorate of Quality and Environmental Education) of the Generalitat Valenciana.

For more information you can contact the Peripheral Communication Office of the Civil Guard of Alicante, at 965.145.660 ext. 446-406 or 680,416,220.


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