Environcom has links to British retailers Dixons and Argos, which supply used appliances to the company for recycling. It admitted exporting the fridges to Ghana but said it did so before the ban came into place.
"Environcom stopped exporting fridges to Ghana some months ago in line with the introduction of the ban, however some containers that left us on time got delayed in transit and arrived in Ghana late...” Environcom replied, defending itself.
However, the Guardian has seen documents which show the fridges were shipped from Britain to Ghana in August this year, almost two months after the ban came into force. Environcom says it sells second-hand fridges to third parties to ship to Ghana, and that it could not be held responsible for delays during the process.
Socialist Banner can only say that if it required legislation to end it exporting pollution or blaming its middle-men for the situation, then the company wasn’t very ethical.
Second-hand electrical goods to African countries, where many end up in toxic rubbish dumps scavenged by children and poisoning local environments. Three-quarters of second-hand goods" imported to Africa could not be reused, and that in Ghana, goods that had been dumped were releasing hazardous substances into the environment, including toxic metal lead; chemicals such as the phthalates DEHP and DBP, which are known to interfere with sexual reproduction; and chlorinated dioxins known to promote cancer. Ghana is the first country in the region to introduce a ban on old fridges, and officials hope it will reduce the quantities of toxic and ozone-unfriendly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and reduce the energy burden on its already squeezed national grid, where old fridges suck up more than half of the national energy output of 2,000 megawatts a year.
In violation of the ban there has been 177 seizures of second-hand fridges. "Most of those have come from the UK – over 90% of the imports are coming from there. They know about the regulations, but they are errant companies that want to defy the law." said Victor Owusu, public affairs spokesman for Ghana's energy commission."I know that in the UK itself this kind of thing would not happen. I think they think it's Africa, so they can get away with it."