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European Parliament 'twiddling its thumbs' over e-waste

International development charity Computer Aid has criticised the European Parliament for its failure to reduce global e-waste by delaying proposed changes to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

According to the IT charity, only a third of disused electronic and computer equipment or e-waste collected in the European Union is treated, with 67% being unaccounted for, landfilled, sent to sub-standard treatment facilities, or illegally exported.

Proposed changes to the WEEE Directive are being slowed by the European Parliament's procedures, Computer Aid said.

Haley Bowcock, environmental advocacy officer at Computer Aid, said, "Successive delays in the process can't help but make one wonder that the EU is not taking the issue seriously, and is twiddling its thumbs as the e-waste piles up."

The United Nations university predicted e-waste will grow to 13 million tons a year by 2020.

Tony Roberts, chief executive at Computer Aid International, said, "E-waste is an area that we believe must be taken extremely seriously. Europe must clamp down environmental crime and lead the way in managing EEE across the world, by the implementing higher reuse and treatment targets."

"The WEEE Directive is failing. Changes need to be effected now, not in 2011 or 2012," added Roberts.

Computer Aid, which refurbishes computers to send to developing countries, has called for the improvements to the WEEE Directive, including higher targets, better policing and streamlined procedures.


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