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Friday, December 30, 2016

BAN says real harm by Intercon is toxic e-waste, commends Feds for arrest

The Executive Director, Basel Action Network (BAN), Mr. Jim Puckett, has declared that the real harm by the owners of Chicago-based Intercon, led by the chief executive officer, Brian Brundage, reports NaijaAgroNet.

"The real harm perpetrated by Brian Brundage and so many others operating in the same way today is the assault on human health and the environment of poorer communities in Asia where our toxic e-waste ends up

Reacting to the recent arrest of Brundage and indictment on a four-count charge of tax evasion and six counts of fraud, BAN Director said it was not surprising, because Intercon Solutions was always a con and never a solution.

"But they fooled a lot of people and got very rich doing it. After we tracked their containers to China, we found out from former employees that they never actually did any electronics recycling at all but just packed and shipped offshore or to local landfills -- a complete fraud," he said.

Puckett pointed out that the arrest and indictment came after over five years since BAN as an international environmental watchdog organization, first exposed by the activities of Intercon Solutions and its CEO Brian Brundage.

He commended the United States Federal agencies, saying it is gratifying to see the wheels of justice turn at long last, but it must be understood that the true crime of Intercon was not a financial one.

"The real harm perpetrated by Brian Brundage and so many others operating in the same way today is the assault on human health and the environment of poorer communities in Asia where our toxic e-waste ends up,” he maintained.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the government is seeking forfeiture of 10 million dollars and each count of income tax evasion is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the wire fraud and mail fraud counts each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years.

According BAN chief, Mr. Brundage and his company Intercon was first caught exporting electronic waste (e-Waste) to Asia in 2011.

BAN, which takes its name from the Basel Convention -- a UN treaty that controls and prohibits the export of hazardous electronic wastes from rich to poorer countries-- has been a relentless watchdog on the issue for the last decade, working to halt the massive tide of toxic e-wastes to that flow each day to Asia by so-called "recyclers" in the United States. 

In 2009, he said, UN authorities created the e-Stewards Certification to offer an alternative to the weaker "R2" Certification created by a US EPA led negotiation, which continues to allow the export of toxic e-wastes to developing countries.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that since 2002, BAN exposed the highly dangerous and polluting offshore electronic waste operations operated by informal recyclers in countries like China and Nigeria that have poisoned thousands of workers and the immediate environs. BAN has worked with many business leaders to prohibit US exports; and, until that happens, they have created the e-Stewards Certification program for those customers that wish to find recyclers that refuse to participate in global toxic waste trade to developing countries.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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