Exported toxic waste going back to the UK

The toxic waste found in 41 containers in the Santos port in the Southeast of Brazil must be shipped back to the UK by next Tuesday. The material is being loaded in a ship today at the same port. 

The shipment was authorized by federal judge André Muniz Mascarenhas de Souza, who considered Brazil must send back the material because it has signed the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which considers illegal traffic of hazardous waste a criminal act.

Brazil also has a national law that forbids the import of waste.

According to the federal police the waste should be send back as soon as possible for the UK authorities to decide how to deal with it. The police considers that each day the situation is getting worse with a bigger risk to the public health and the environment.

Brazil has lodged a formal complaint ith the World Trade Organisation that alleged the shipments of UK toxic waste have breached the Basel Convention.

Overall, 99 containers with over 1,400 tons of toxic waste – including syringes, condoms and bags of blood – were found in three Brazilian ports.

Five Brazilian companies have been fined. They claim they thought they were being sent plastic for recycling. Two UK companies are under investigation – one of them belongs to a Brazilian citizen.

Last week, the UK Environment Agency officers raided three properties in the Swindon area of Wiltshire and arrested three suspects.