Waste Crime - Waste Risks

Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge

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Waste covers a very wide spectrum of discarded materials ranging from municipal, electrical and electronic, industrial and agricultural, to new types including counterfeit pesticides. It also includes anything in size and scale from decommissioned ships, oil or liquid wastes, hundreds of millions of mobile phones to billions of used car tires. With rising global population, urbanisation and consumption, the amount of waste continues to increase. Additionally, illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed countries to developing countries have become an increasing global concern. This publication provides insight into the possible scale and features of the main drivers, along with case studies. It is not an exhaustive or fully comprehensive overview, but it intends to identify major areas of policy deficits and challenges that require further investigation, policy action and intervention for prevention and damage control, as well as to identify opportunities.



Waste management landscape

The global waste market sector from collection to recycling is estimated at USD 410 billion a year (UNEP 2011), excluding a very large informal segment. As in any large economic sector, there are opportunities for illegal earnings at different stages of legal operations, with both monetary and ethical implications. The exploiters of these opportunities range from organized transnational crime to small groups or individuals (Europol 2015, 2013). Illegal and illicit trade of waste takes advantage of weak spots, such as the low overall possibility of controlling the trade, the price of waste treatment, and the complexity of waste-related legislation.


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