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Sharp rise in plastic waste crime, need to fight crime driven pollution: Interpol

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New Delhi, Aug 29: The Interpol has said that criminal networks are exploiting the legitimate pollution management business. There has been an alarming increase in illegal plastic pollution, a Strategic Analysis Report on the emerging criminal trends in global plastic waste markets since 2018 has said.

Since January 2018, indicates that there has been a considerable increase over the past two years in illegal waste shipments, primarily rerouted to South-East Asia via multiple transit countries to camouflage the origin of the waste shipment.

Sharp rise in plastic waste crime, need to fight crime driven pollution: Interpol

Other key findings include an increase in illegal waste fire and landfills in Europe and Asia, a significant rise in the use of counterfeit documents and fraudulent waste registrations, with case studies from each of the contributing countries illustrating the extent and complexity of the problem.

Based on open sources and criminal intelligence from 40 countries, the report provides a comprehensive global picture of emerging trafficking routes and crime threats in the plastic waste market, and recommends tailored enforcement responses, the report also said.

Further the report says that there is a link between the crime networks and legitimate pollution management businesses which are used as a cover for illegal operations, with criminals often resorting to financial crime and document forgery to carry out their global operations.

It also refers to the murder of a mayor of a small French town. He was murdered for trying to prevent illegal waste dumping in his area.

Difficulties in treating and monitoring the plastic waste surplus have opened doors for opportunistic crime in the plastic waste sector, both in illegal trade and illegal waste treatment.

Last May, Malaysian authorities began the process of returning almost 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste to 13 countries, a sign of the country's determination to tackle the illegal trade in plastic waste, the report noted.

"The Chinese government is committed to fighting plastic waste crime. In recent years we have changed legislation to address it, establishing stronger administrative procedures and launching national campaigns to tackle it, particularly as it relates to cross-border smuggling," said Daqi Duan, China's Head of INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) and International Cooperation Department Deputy Director General (Ministry of Public Security).

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    The report calls for the world's police community to work together across borders in monitoring this crime, becoming more proactive in waste enforcement, scanning risks earlier, and carrying out financial investigations and intelligence-led operations. LSW is a capacity building initiative led by SEPA with funding from the LIFE programme of the European Union to help law enforcement tackle waste crime.

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