By Tara Rippin • 28 November 2020 • 11:10
Firm investigated over ‘poor management’ of Covid healthcare waste.
The Guardia Civil has launched an investigation into a company belonging to an American international holding firm with a European HQ in London and sites across Spain, for poor and irregular management of Covid-19 healthcare waste.
The ‘Ribio’ operation has led to the arrest and investigation of 20 people.
The company allegedly “reduced costs in packaging, handling and protective equipment, with the increased risk of virus dispersal that it entails”, said the police.
The operation has centred on sites in Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Madrid and Portugal.
Surveys carried out by SEPRONA revealed that infectious waste was stored on the street and without proper packaging, using a cheaper alternative.
“This modus operandi allowed them to increase the profits obtained, which are estimated at 300 per cent. The majority of the operators only had gloves as personal protective equipment,” said the Guardia Civil in a statement.
“The savings in packaging caused a large part of them – by containing liquid substances – to deteriorate and the contents of the bags would end up dispersed on the public road.
“The investigated company assumed a volume and type of waste well above the forecast made based on its capacity. This has led to possible incorrect treatments, which failed to neutralise the viral load and the risk of infection, and, in general, negligent actions that could generate contagion situations.”
The mismanagement of this waste can directly lead to the application of criminal sanctions with prison terms of two to five years and disqualification from trading for up to three years.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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