On World Environment Day, WCO strives for a “World without plastic”

05 June 2018

On June 5th, the WCO joins the international community in celebrating World Environment Day, under the theme “Beat plastic pollution”.

On this occasion, the WCO stands together with all its partners in celebrating Customs and all law enforcement efforts in the fight against environmental crime, and would like to raise awareness on environmental issues so that all can contribute towards the preservation of our planet.

Environmental threats are ever expanding and encompass a wide range of aspects. For example, every year more than 400 million tonnes of hazardous waste, including plastic, are generated. A large portion of which is illegally shipped and dumped in vulnerable regions. According to the United Nations University, 44.7 million metric tonnes of electrical and electronic, or E-waste, has been generated by 2016, of which 80 % is not recycled. . 

To tackle the illegal transboundary movements of waste, the WCO in partnership with China Customs, are conducting major enforcement operations aimed at mitigating illegal dangerous waste shipments. To that end, regular exchanges of information are essential for successful border enforcement, and the WCO is working closely with its Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs) across the globe, as well as with its Green Customs initiative partners, including the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Environmental issues are, however, not limited to plastic and waste. Fighting environmental crime is a key priority of the WCO and its 182 Member administrations across the globe, who undertake continuous efforts against illegal wildlife and timber trafficking, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The WCO’s efforts are further strengthened by the support of its International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) partners, namely CITES, INTERPOL, UNODC and the World Bank. This strong partnership presents a long-term united front against illegal wildlife trade, targeting all aspects of the value chain on both global and regional scale.

Thanks to the support of key development and technical partners, the WCO continues to implement the activities envisaged under the INAMA Project, a tailored-made approach to strengthening the enforcement capacity of targeted Customs administrations in Sub- Saharan Africa and South East Asia to combat illegal wildlife trade.

The WCO encourages everyone to participate; take action today!