EU to take action against illegal waste shipments


The European Commission has proposed stronger legislation on national inspections of waste shipments to ensure all Member States have similar levels of control.

Around 25 per cent of waste shipments from the EU to developing countries in Africa and Asia are thought to contravene international regulations, according to the Commission.


European environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “It’s time for stricter controls in all Member States – that’s the best way of stopping dishonest exporters from taking advantage of the system.

“Today’s proposal will help to reduce mismanagement of waste, make sure hazardous waste is dealt with properly and see that valuable resources are reused.”

The European Commission wants to crack down on a practice known as ‘port hopping’, where exporters of illegal waste choose to export their waste from Member States with the most lenient controls.

It is proposing that risk-based inspections are carried out regularly by Member States with greater co-operation between authorities and better training of inspectors.

This will help authorities to focus on routes, times and vehicles that are most frequently involved in illegal shipping.

By focusing more on collection points and storage facilities will also allow inspections to be made at an early stage. It is hoped that by preventing illegal waste exports up-stream, pressure will be eased on regular points of exit. Inspection planning will also help authorities increase their capacity to carry out effective inspections.

The European Commission also intends to introduce on-the-spot inspections to ensure the legality of shipments.