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Jail terms sought for Dutch appliance dumpers

by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) Nov 9, 2010
Prosecutors sought jail terms of 18 and 12 months Tuesday for four Dutch men accused of involvement in dumping tons of used electronics in Africa and eastern Europe, the prosecution service said.

The four are accused of receiving payment to collect fridges, washing machines, TVs and computers that were meant to be recycled under European environmental laws, instead giving them to intermediaries who shipped them to Ghana and eastern Europe to be dumped there.

The suspects, whose trial started in the eastern city of Zwolle in March, are suspected of having earned "hundreds of thousands of euros", a statement from the prosecution service said.

They made about 10 to 15 euros per appliance, of which they collected dozens a week from retailers who are obliged to recycle the used electronics of consumers -- a much more expensive process than illegal dumping.

"In Ghana, the majority of the electronic appliances and fridges with CFCs ended up on rubbish dumps where children salvage the usable parts," said the statement.

"During the salvaging, poisonous substances are released against which they are not protected."

Prosecutors asked the Zwolle district court for an 18-month sentence for the ringleader, and 12 months for the other three.

Judgment is set for November 21.

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