Operation DEMETER VI, with the first one dating back to 2009, focus on transboundary shipments of illegal waste controlled by the Basel Convention and ozone depleting substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for non-recycled plastic such as face shields, gloves, and online shopping wrap has spiked waste as well.
The enormous amounts of plastic waste go far beyond what most countries can handle on their own, therefore this plastic waste was likely to transport to the other countries illegally. It was essential to closely monitor and control the trans-boundary movements of waste at a global level.
Operation DEMETER VI implemented with 73 Customs administrations joining forces including the WCO Secretariat, nine WCO RILOs, the WCO-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Container Control Programme, INTERPOL, Europol, the EU Network for Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL), the Secretariat of the Basel Convention as well as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) participated in the first time and supported the Operation.
The WCO Secretariat, the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices for Asia/Pacific (RILO AP), Western Europe and China Customs played a leading role. Especially, RILO AP installed Operation Coordination Unit (OCU) in Seoul and actively cooperated in the operation. Despite the measures imposing some restrictions onCustoms, the participating countries detected almost 99,000 tons of waste and an additional 78,000 pieces of waste materials, as well as approximately 42 tons of substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol.