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Illegal dumping of home appliances increased 25 percent year-on-year in April, the first month after a new recycling law took effect.

According to an Environment Ministry survey that covered 86 municipalities in 25 prefectures, 1,986 air conditioners, TVs, washing machines and refrigerators — the appliances targeted by the law — were illegally abandoned in the municipalities, compared with 1,584 in the same month a year earlier.

Just over 60 percent of 86 municipalities logged a rise in the number of illegally dumped home appliances, while a third of them saw a decline, the survey showed.

Consumer groups have voiced concern that the Home Appliances Recycling Law could lead to a spate of appliance dumping, since recycling costs are born by consumers rather than manufacturers.

Officials said the April numbers alone are not sufficient to gauge the effect of the new law, citing the small size of the sample and consumers who rushed to trade in or dispose of home appliances during March to avoid paying recycling fees.

Municipalities that experienced a jump in illegal dumping said the items were often abandoned along rivers or near stations, according to ministry officials.

Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, saw 167 appliances illegally dumped in April, compared with 108 a year ago, while such cases in Soka, Saitama Prefecture, rose to 96 from only five a year ago.

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