INTERPOL has published a new report on global plastic waste management since 2018 titled INTERPOL’s strategic analysis on emerging criminal trends in the global plastic waste market since January 2018. g. “). The report points to a significant increase over the past two years in the illegal shipments of plastic waste, primarily sent to Southeast Asia through several transit countries to hide the origin of the waste.
Another study finding showed an increase in the incidence of illegal incineration and dumping of waste in Europe and Asia, a significant increase in the use of false documents and falsified waste registrations with examples from different countries illustrating the scale and complexity of the problem.
The report is based on open sources and information obtained in the course of operational-search activities from 40 countries. The document provides a global picture of the growing traffic routes and crime threats in the plastic waste market, as well as recommendations for responding to them.
The report points to a link between criminal networks and legal waste management businesses that are used as a cover for illegal operations. Criminals often resort to financial crimes and forgery to carry out such acts on a global scale.
One example describes how the mayor of a small French town was killed for trying to prevent an illegal dumping of waste on his property, and points to the type of violence typically found in organized crime.
The complexities of recycling and monitoring plastic waste open the door to crime in the plastic waste sector, both in illegal trade and illegal waste handling.
As noted on the Interpol website, in May last year, the Malaysian authorities began the process of returning almost 4,000 tons of plastic waste to 13 countries. This is a sign that the country intends to fight the illegal trade in plastic waste. This example demonstrates the surge in the amount of plastic waste sent to Malaysia mainly from Europe and North America since 2018, when the PRC closed its doors to import waste to protect its environment from plastic pollution.
“The Chinese government is committed to fighting plastic waste crime. In recent years, we have changed the legislation to address this problem by establishing stricter administrative procedures and launching national campaigns to combat it, especially with regard to cross-border smuggling, ”said Daqi Duan, head of the National Central Bureau of Interpol ( NCB) of China and Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Public Security.
Improper handling of plastic waste harms the environment, leaving deposits of plastic and microplastics on land, in rivers and oceans around the world. Plastic also contributes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions ranging from manufacturing to waste management.
“Global plastic pollution is one of the most common environmental threats to the planet today, and proper regulation and governance is critical to global environmental safety,” said Calum MacDonald, Chairman of the Interpol Compliance and Compliance Advisory Board. who is also the executive director of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
An Interpol report, funded by the LIFE SMART Waste Project (LSW), calls on the international police community to work together across borders to track down plastic waste crimes, increase waste control activism, early risk scanning, and conduct financial investigations and intelligence operations. LSW is a capacity building initiative led by SEPA with financial support from the European Union’s LIFE program to help law enforcement agencies fight waste crime.
“Waste crime is a growing threat rooted in a more fundamental problem: our inability to manage our use and production of plastics. We are aware of the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems, the potential links to human health and now its criminal consequences, ”said Eirik Lindebjerg, WWF Global Director of Plastics Policy.
INTERPOL’s Global Pollution Control Team works with expert agencies in 194 countries to identify and suppress pollution-related crimes and dismantle the groups behind them.