Posted on 17/10/2013 in category Legislation

China: “Operation Green Fence” evolves into a concerted action among environmental and customs organisations around the globe

BIR wishes to inform its members that the Chinese General Administration of Customs recently launched phase 3 of “Operation  Goddess  of the Earth”, an initiative which aims at fighting the smuggling of hazardous wastes, especially from Europe and North America, to Asia-Pacific Region, and which is the extension of “Operation Green Fence”. The action is set to run from 7 October 2013 to 25 November 2013.

According to information received by our office, 43 members of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) including the United States and the Netherlands and 3 regional liaison offices, as well as the "Basel Convention" Secretariat, the International Criminal Police Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network and the EU Environmental Enforcement Network have so far applied to take part in the “Operation Goddess of the Earth”.

Phase 1 of “Operation Goddess of the Earth” ran from 10 April to 20 May 2009, involving the key ports of Guangzhou, Shenzen, Gongbei, Nanjing and 18 other ports. At the end of phase 1, Chinese authorities stated that they had effectively curbed the illegal cross-border smuggling of waste materials.

Phase 2 of “Operation-Goddess of the Earth”, also known as “Operation Green Fence”, started in February 2013 for an initially intended 10- month period. This action has been aiming at strengthening the regulation of the import of “foreign waste”, combating prohibited imports of solid waste. In just five months, the action has produced significant effect. 337 cases of illegal smuggling of solid waste were seized by customs around China, the total value of which amounted to 1.7 billion RMB Yuan. Among these, 255 cases with a total value of 1.6 billion Yuan concerned waste metals, waste plastics and waste paper. The anti-smuggling departments around the country have investigated and verified 55 cases involving more than 800,000 tons of imported waste of different kinds.

BIR would like to remind its members that the operations of the Chinese customs authorities are based on existing Chinese legislation and that legitimate trade with China - or with any other country for that matter - should conform to the existing national regulatory framework.