Basel Convention, WCO and UNEP-ROAP Seize Tons of Hazardous Waste

wco-basel20 January 2013: The Secretariat of the Basel Convention, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), and China Customs have announced the successful interception of over 7,000 metric tons of illegal waste, including hazardous waste, used vehicle parts and tyres, textiles and e-waste, under an operation titled Demeter III. Operation Demeter III is a joint global Customs initiative operating across Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.

According to WCO, the operation targeted illicit maritime consignments being transported from Europe for disposal in the Asia-Pacific. WCO says Demeter III was launched following growing concern over continued transboundary movement of hazardous waste in contravention of international instruments, including the Basel Convention on Controlling Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

Under the Basel Convention, Parties have the right to prohibit the import of waste, and are prohibited from exporting waste without the pre-consent of importing countries. Without the importing country's pre-consent, any transport of hazardous waste is regarded as illegal, and the exporting country must take the shipment back. [WCO Press Release]