EU demands proof states are protecting ozone layer
BRUSSELS - Not a single European Union country has shown it is doing enough to protect the ozone layer from damage by man-made chemicals, EU authorities said.
The European Commission said none of the 15 member states had shown how they intended to ensure ozone-depleting chemicals in scrapped fridges or old fire extinguishers would be safely removed to stop them worsening the hole in the ozone layer.
The governments have two months to the provide the information or face the threat of legal action.
A 2000 regulation aims to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), industrial chemicals that can damage the layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere which helps protect the earth from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.
As well as setting deadlines for ending the use of HCFCs - which are used in refrigeration and as aerosol propellants - the regulation decreed that the chemicals must be removed from scrap equipment from the start of last year.
Under the rules, governments should have informed the EU\'s executive Commission by the start of last year about what regimes they had put in place to ensure the chemicals are not just dumped in the environment. None has done so.
The regulation has already caused upset in Britain where an absence of recycling facilities able to deal with the chemicals has caused a \"fridge mountain\" to develop.
Under the rules, fridges can no longer be shredded for metals recycling before the chemicals are removed.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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