Environment Agency chairman, Lord Smith, used a speech to the world’s largest police organisation INTERPOL to call for an alliance against electrical waste.

Speaking in Lyon, he called for better cooperation and exchange of intelligence across national borders to stop a crime that poses a ‘growing and persistent risk to human health and the environment’.

Lord Smith revealed the Environment Agency (EA) currently provides criminal intelligence on illegal waste exports to 46 countries but has so far received intelligence from only 10 countries in return.

“Electrical waste contains toxins including mercury, arsenic and lead, and the health of children in the developing world is being put at risk when this waste is illegally exported and then burnt to recover the valuable metals inside,” Lord Smith said.

“Not only are children being exploited and their health put at risk when they carry out this work, but the toxins are also contaminating air, land and water.”

According to the EA its investigations have shown organised crime networks involved in the illegal export of electrical waste are often involved in other serious criminal activity including theft, people trafficking, fraud, drugs, smuggling, conspiracy, firearms and money laundering.

Luke Walsh

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