crackdown on illegal waste shipping promotes cross-border cooperation
A simultaneous environmental inspection initiative
at seaports in June and July 2010 involving authorities from
Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe resulted in the detection
of illegal hazardous and electronic waste and confirmed the benefits
of informal international cooperation to respond to illegal transboundary
movement of hazardous wastes through seaports.
Initial results indicate that, of the 72 total targeted inspections
conducted during the inspection month, 54 percent were infringements.
The illegal waste streams most often encountered during the event
were: e-waste wrongly declared as second hand goods, waste batteries
wrongly described as plastic or mixed metal scrap, and cathode
ray tubes from television and computer monitors wrongly classified
as metal scrap. In 19 of the reported cases of infraction, the
illegal shipments of waste were returned to the country of origin.
In nine further cases, the detected waste was treated in the
country of detection.
More than one dozen countries participated in the International
Hazardous Waste Inspections Exercise at Seaports, an initiative
coordinated by the International Network for Environmental Compliance
and Enforcement’s (INECE) Seaport Environmental Security Network
(SESN). Involved authorities, which included customs, environment,
police and port officials, con- ducted inspections at seaports
across the globe.
Project participants employed a variety of inspections techniques,
including intelligence-led enforcement, at-random inspections
and bilateral information-sharing. Close communication between
officials in importing and exporting countries and coordination
of agencies at the national level proved to be critically important
in detecting and stopping illegal shipments.
“The sheer volume of containers moving through seaports makes
it difficult to catch the bad guys,” said Durwood Zaelke, director
of the INECE Secretariat. “It is essential to develop state-of-the-art
programs for container inspection and enforcement.”
The Inspection Exercise was supported by the Secretariat of the
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of
Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
The SESN participants will continue to collaborate in the future
to detect and deter illegal shipments of hazardous waste through