Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The classic case is the fridge mountain. Your old fridge used to be taken away by the supplier of the new one, refurbished and sent to Africa. This brought benefits to the consumer, the exporter and the Nigerian housewife, with no apparent harm to the environment.So instead of recycled refrigerators in Africa we have piles of garbage in the UK, still with CFCs.
But then we found out about CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer. In 1998 the EU announced that with effect from January 2002 old fridges could no longer be exported and would only be allowed to go to landfill after 'controlled substances' were removed. Brussels took three years to answer a query about whether it was just the cooling-motor or the insulation as well that had to be stripped out before disposal. Whitehall did not see fit to prepare local authorities for both contingencies, with the result that we were not ready when the ban came into force. England's green and pleasant land became dotted with piles of rusting white goods.
(h/t: Arts and Letters Daily.)