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Portugal facing EU action for lax disposal of ozone-depleting pollutant
LISBON (AFP) Oct 01, 2004
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), enviromentalists said Friday.

Quercus, a leading Portuguese environmental group, said it received a letter from the EU Environment Commission last month informing the group that Brussels was opening a probe into complaints that Lisbon has not provided sufficient CFC recycling facilities.

The group complained to Brussels last year that only 0.5 percent of roughly 500,000 old CFC-containing equipments were disposed of properly in Portugal in

EU regulations require member states to remove all CFCs from all old refrigerators and air conditioning units at recycling plants but Quercus said in Portugal the vast majority continued to be dumped directly into the garbage.

"The EU has looked into our complaint, they found it valid and have opened legal action against Portugal," the president of Quercus, Helder Spinola, told

Lisbon now faces a stiff fine from the EU for not doing enough to ensure the rules on the proper disposal of CFCs, he added.

Previously used as a refrigerant, CFCs have been proved to deplete the ozone layer which shields the earth from the sun's harmful radiation, increasing the number of skin cancers and contributing to global warming.

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