Stronger legislation on national inspections of waste shipments to crack down on waste being exported illegally has been launched in the EU.
The European Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) bans all exports of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries and all exports of waste for disposal outside the EU. The European Commission, however, said around 25% of waste shipments sent from the EU illegally end up in developing countries that often lack the infrastructure needed to process waste effectively.
The European Commission has, as a result, decided to take action to tackle illegal waste shipments that are causing damage to human health and the environment. It has proposed amendments to the WSR, establishing minimum inspection requirements throughout the EU to make sure “sufficient controls are being carried out” in all Member States.
This includes “risk-based inspections” to be carried out regularly by Member States, with greater co-operation between authorities and better training of inspectors, which is expected to help focus on routes, times and vehicles that are most frequently involved in illegal shipping.
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.”