INTERPOL releases report on plastic waste crime

INTERPOL has released a new publication titled, ‘Strategical analysis on emerging criminal trends in the global plastic waste market since January 2018.’ This report is based on open sources and criminal intelligence from 40 countries and provides a global picture of emerging trafficking routes and crime threats with corresponding recommendations. It finds here 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. 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.

The report also points to the link between 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 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.

A public version of the report is available at


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