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Household waste from UK dumped in India

world Updated: Sep 08, 2008 11:35 IST

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Household waste collected weekly across Britain for recycling is being shipped and dumped in India, according to an investigation by ITVs 'Tonight programme'.

As part of country's efforts to go green and improve the environment, UK councils ask households to carefully separate waste into different categories: plastics, metal, paper and glass so that they all can be recycled.

But, according to the investigation, they were shipped to India on the waste black market, which is cheaper. It costs up to 148 pounds to recycle a tonne of rubbish once it is separated but only 40 pounds to ship it to India.

The investigation found that a receipt put into a paper recycling bin in Essex turned up at the top of a stinking rubbish mount in Tamil Nadu. It was traced to the Walton-on-the-Naze home of Geoff Moore.

His receipt for CDs was found by investigators from ITV's 'Tonight' programme at a sprawling rubbish tip in Tamil Nadu. They also found juice cartons, British newspapers, Walkers crisp packets, UK school reports and plastic bags.

All UK councils are required to recycle. But after householders separate their rubbish and bin workers collect it, councils pass it on to waste firms, who in turn use subcontractors. They are under no obligation to reveal what they actually do with it.

European Union law bans sending waste abroad for dumping but allows it to go overseas if it has already been separated and provided that it is actually recycled, according to the Sunday Mirror.

The Environment Agency promised to investigate the matter.

Paul Bettison of the Local Government Authority Environment Board called for a change in the law and said "if a contractor refuses to reveal where materials are being sold it can undermine the whole process."