Man Fined $1 Million for Shipping Trash Overseas

trash stamp photo

Talk About Junk Mail!
Last June, the Brazilian authorities discovered 91 shipping containers full of trash in the nation's ports, all exported from Britain. After some investigation, the tons of household waste were linked back to businessman Julio Cesar da Costa, who owned a trash-collection company outside of London. Attempting to export trash violates international law, which led a British court to hold him liable and issue him a fine of roughly $1 million, but Costa maintains his innocence. As it turns out though, this isn't the first time developing countries have been targeted for use as the rug to sweep a mess under.Brazil Imposed Fine on Shipping Company
According to a report from the BBC Brasil, the shipping company that was caught transporting the 91 containers of waste, named MSC, received a hefty fine from Brazilian authorities and was forced to return the cargo back to Britain. Despite being the ones slapped with the fine, the shipping company filed a lawsuit arguing that the person who hired it to ship the cargo should pay restitution.

British courts ruled that the illegally exported trash was the responsibility of Brazilian businessman, Julio Cesar de Costa. Costa's company, Worldwide Biorecycling, was a waste collector for the City of Swindon.

Businessman Denies Fault
The courts ordered that Costa reimburse MSC for the penalty imposed by the Brazilian government. Nevertheless, Costa insists that he is innocent of the charges, and that he was duped by a contractor he had hired to manage the trash.

I was sentenced in the High Court of Justice to pay $ 1.17 million, equivalent to more than 700 thousand pounds for an account that is not my business and I have not hired.

Britain's environmental agency has opened an investigation into the case, which may lead to criminal charges being filed, reports the BBC.

Not the First Time Trash has Been Exported
Just last year, the Times reported on another investigation into the illegal shipping of e-waste to Africa. Under British law, broken electronic equipment "must be dismantled or recycled by specialist contractors because of the toxic content."

To get around these strict rules, dealers were found to be shipping such equipment to places like Nigeria--where they collected in toxic heaps. A spokesman for Consumers International told the Times:

The sight of children scavenging toxic wastelands overflowing with the West's unwanted computers and televisions makes a mockery of international bans to prevent the dumping of e-waste.

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