A global law enforcement operation involving 61 countries has identified thousands of illicit activities behind marine pollution, as well as hundreds of environmental violations and severe cases of contamination worldwide.
Codenamed 30 Days at Sea 2.0, the operation, which took place towards the end of 2019, gathered more than 200 enforcement authorities worldwide for concerted action across all continents. The European leg of 30 Days at Sea 2.0 was coordinated in cooperation with Europol and Frontex.
As an illustration of the global extent of marine pollution crime, preliminary operational results exposed more than 3,000 offences detected during 17,000 inspections.
The offences – such as illegal discharges at sea, in rivers, or coastal areas – were found to have been committed primarily to avoid the cost of compliance with environmental legislation.
As part of Operation 30 Days at Sea 2.0, Interpol hosted an Operational Command Centre (OCC) in Singapore to focus on the illegal trade in plastic waste, a fundamental threat to marine environment security. The OCC brought key countries together to begin investigations into cases of illegal export or import of plastic waste.
Interpol played the role of coordinating effective global multi-agency action to help countries tackle this serious pollution crime.
Frontex helped monitor and patrol the Mediterranean with its various services, planes and ships taking part in joint maritime operations.
The operation also served to foster new and stronger working partnerships between national agencies in some countries, which in turn boosted operational results and sustainable cooperation mechanisms.
In Nigeria, Interpol’s Central Bureau in Abuja coordinated the action of different authorities through a task force created to conduct inspections into illegal oil refineries, found responsible for severe oil leakages polluting the country’s waterways.
Information exchanged between Malaysia and The Netherlands permitted authorities to identify the source country of seven containers of plastic waste being illegally shipped, from Belgium via Hong Kong, and to initiate their repatriation.
As part of the operation, some countries increased collective commitment to tackling plastic pollution crime through awareness campaigns in addition to actions on the ground.
Ecuador conducted a plastic waste collection campaign in the World Heritage site of the Galapagos Islands, resulting in the removal of more than 600 kg of refuse.
Indonesian authorities launched a public awareness campaign on the operation’s approach, backed up by messages from the police, to combat marine pollution.
For more information about the operations mentioned here, see the Twitter hashtags #PollutionCrime and #30DaysatSea.