Electronic devices dumped in Nigeria contain environmentally harmful and poisonous substances.
A criminal network that smuggled some 2.5 tonnes of waste into Africa, has been dismantled by Spanish authorities.
The gang specialized in smuggling waste, including discarded and hazardous electronic equipment, from Spain’s Canary Islands to several countries in Africa–including Nigeria.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that the suspects loaded maritime containers with second-hand items such as vehicle parts and household goods.
A third of the contents was e-waste.
This e-waste was then sent mainly to Nigeria and other African countries. From here, the waste was sold to willing buyers.
The network allegedly sourced the equipment from bins, flea markets and industrial dumps.
Nigeria has a notorious appetite for second hand items from Europe and the United States.
Spain’s Civil Guard arrested 34 people for the crime.
Among them was a 62-year-old Italian woman who owned a trading business and allegedly forged custom clearance documents for the arrival and departure of the cargo from the port of Santa Cruz, in Tenerife.
The European police coordination body, Europol, and Italy’s Carabinieri also supported the two-year investigation into the environmental crime, according to a statement from the Civil Guard.
Electronic devices often contain poisonous and hazardous substances like cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, oils, gases, among other environmentally unfriendly substances.