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Interpol reports sharp increase in illegal plastic waste trade

27.08.2020 − 

A new report from Interpol has found an “alarming" increase in “illegal plastic pollution trade” across the world since China closed its doors to waste plastics in 2018. The international police organisation had observed a considerable increase in illegal shipments of plastic waste to countries in Southeast Asia. To conceal the country of origin, the shipments are routed through numerous transit countries, said Interpol. The number of waste fires and illegal waste dumps has also increased in Europe and Asia over the past two years, according to the report.

Within Europe, too, there had been changes in waste flows. Volumes of both green list waste and illegal wastes destined for Central and Eastern Europe had increased. "Based on data received by Interpol, the Czech Republic and Romania appeared as the most concerned by this trend," the police organisation wrote in its report. "Waste shipments falsely labelled as 'for recovery' in fact end up disposed of or burned, as the recipient facility is changed once the shipment enters the country."

The Interpol report is based on freely available data and operational data from police sources in forty countries. It was compiled with financial support from the EU's LIFE "Smart Waste" project.

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