INTERPOL employs multi-national operation to combat marine pollution
Preliminary results revealed that over 3,000 offenses were committed, occurring over the course of 17,000 inspections.
By ZACHARY KEYSER
An INTERPOL operation code named 30 Days at Sea 2.0, involving the cooperation of over 61 countries throughout the month of October, has identified thousands of “illicit activities” being carried out by offenders worldwide, that are in turn adding to the severe increase in marine pollution across the planet.Preliminary results revealed that over 3,000 offenses were committed, occurring over the course of 17,000 inspections.“The offenses – such as illegal discharges at sea, in rivers, or in coastal areas – were found to have been committed primarily to avoid the cost of compliance with environmental legislation,” INTERPOL said in a statement.The mainstay of 30 Days at Sea 2.0 is to safeguard sustainable marine development as well as public health.Focusing on the illegal trade of plastic waste, INTERPOL set up an Operational Command Center (OCC) in Singapore to bring major countries together to bring upon the onset of investigations into these crimes.“Plastic pollution crime threatens the food chain, ecosystems, economies, public health and sustainable development,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “INTERPOL has a powerful role in coordinating effective global multi-agency action to help countries tackle this serious form of pollution crime.”A shipment comprised of seven receptacles containing illegal plastic waste, traveling to Malaysia from Belgium via Hong Kong, was seized due to the collective efforts and information sharing of authorities located in both The Netherlands and Malaysia.The European mission of the 30-day operation was coordinated in cooperation with Europal and Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri added, “We are proud that we helped track down severe maritime pollution as part of Operation 30 Days at Sea 2.0 because we take the protection of our seas very seriously.”“With incidents of maritime pollution increasing significantly over the last decade, and as Europol considers maritime pollution to be a priority environmental crime area, we are proud to coordinate this operation within the EU Member States in active cooperation with our colleagues from INTERPOL and Frontex,” said Europol executive director Catherine De Bolle.30 Days at Sea 2.0, served as an umbrella operation to garner further partnership between national agencies and individual governing bodies – boosting “operational results and sustainable cooperation mechanisms.”“The nature of maritime pollution requires a coordinated and multi-agency approach on a global scale: the impressive results of the second edition of ‘Operation 30 Days at Sea’ illustrate once more what can be achieved when law enforcement agencies work together with the support of the EU and global organizations,” said De Bolle.In Nigeria, INTERPOL’s local bureau created a task force to organize and carry out inspections into illegal oil refineries polluting local waterways through severe oil leakages.In addition to enforcement action, throughout many of these countries INTERPOL is responsible for spearheading awareness campaigns in the hopes of reducing pollution efforts by major offenders. Ecuadorian authorities conducted a plastic waste campaign resulting in the removal of over 600 kg of refuse, while in Indonesia they launched a public awareness campaign to follow the national law enforcement’s “strengthened” stance on marine pollution.INTERPOL is using the success of 30 Days at Sea 2.0 to strengthen cooperative efforts throughout the world. So far, over 100 enforcement agencies worldwide are currently working with INTERPOL to stymie marine pollution, and have pledged to continue to do so.