Environmental group, Quercus, claims that the European Commission has launched legal action against Portugal for failing to enforce laws regulating the disposal of old refrigerators and air conditioning units containing ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
The President of Quercus, Helder Spinola, said he received a letter from the EU Environment Commission last month informing the group that Brussels was looking into complaints that Portugal has not provided sufficient CFC recycling facilities.
The letter came after the group complained to Brussels last year that only 0.5 per cent of around 500,000 discarded CFC-containing units were disposed of properly in Portugal in 2002.
EU regulations require member states to remove all CFCs from all old refrigerators and air conditioning units at recycling plants, but Quercus claims that, in Portugal, the vast majority continue to be dumped directly into landfill sites.
“The EU has looked into our complaint, they found it valid and have started legal action against Portugal,” Spinola explained. “The government now faces a large fine from the EU.”