Today the UNU and BCCC-Africa launched the results of a study assessing the import of used electrical and electronic equipment into Nigeria. The ‘Person in the Port’ project reveals a continuing “severe problem” of non-compliance with international and national rules governing such shipments. About 3/4 of 60,000 tonnes of used electronic equipment shipped to Nigeria in both 2015 and 2016 originated from EU ports; At least 15,400 tonnes didn’t work.
The findings of this report, corroborate IMPEL’s work on this matter to a large extent.
Since 2006, European countries have been carrying out inspections on shipments of waste under the umbrella of IMPEL’s Enforcement Actions projects series. Electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) has been a priority waste stream for several years for IMPEL. Inspection data resulting from these inspections show that participating countries undertook 23,570 inspections as part of the project during 2016 and 2017; of these 6,778 were waste shipments and 32% of these were illegal shipments. Nearly 500 of these shipments involved e-waste and e-waste in vehicles. These inspections represent only a fraction of the inspections European countries undertake on waste shipments.
The main challenges faced by the law enforcement authorities include monitoring consignments of mixed goods, wrong declarations and false paperwork. Testing equipment and opening vehicles that are often sealed off, for inspection purposes, put high demands on the already limited resources of the authorities. The definition of waste and classification of electronic and electric equipment also continues to generate different views and interpretations among authorities and member states.
In addition IMPEL started a dedicated series of projects on the implementation of the so-called ‘Annex VI’ criteria of the WEEE Directive, This annex outlines the criteria under which used and waste electrical and electronic equipment can be shipped, such as testing and packaging requirements. Interim results show that most member states taking part in this project have implemented annex VI in national legislation, but that testing methods and the recording of test results still varies widely between member states.
Clamping down on illegal shipments of waste, remains a high priority for our network. IMPEL, whose members participate in our projects on voluntary basis, will continue to facilitate the collaboration in enforcement actions within the member states, to develop tools to support the officers in the field, to share of experiences and to harmonise the interpretation of the regulations. Cooperation with police, customs and prosecutors will be further intensified. Operational communication with the receiving countries of waste is key; also in order to deal with the repatriation of illegally shipped waste. IMPEL is always keen to foster this dialogue and offer support where appropriate, said Chris Dijkens, Chair of IMPEL.