21 waste containers that were illegally exported to Sri Lanka have been brought back to England.
The containers, which were originally shipped to Sri Lanka in 2017, held illegal materials, described as mattresses and carpets which had been exported for reuse.
Environment Agency enforcement officers in England will now seek to confirm the types of waste and to find out who exported it.
Those found to be responsible could face a custodial sentence of up to two years and an unlimited fine.
Malcolm Lythgo, head of waste regulation at the Environment Agency said: ‘We are determined to stop this illegal trade and we have officers inspecting waste shipments at ports across England every day. Wherever we find illegal activity, we stop the waste being exported.
‘There are stringent international rules in place to stop contaminated waste being shipped to unsuspecting countries which could harm their citizens and the environment and we will be thoroughly investigating this consignment to track down those responsible.
‘Producers of waste should make sure it does not get handed illegally by their contractors – out of sight should not be out of mind.
‘Those exporting waste should be under no illusion – if we find waste being shipped illegally then we will take action.’
In related news, a globalised economy is making water, energy and land insecurity worse, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Cambridge.
For example, the UK imports 50% of its food, drought or any severe weather event in another country puts these food imports ar risk, and this risk will continue to accelerate as climate change continues and severe weather events become more common.
Using macroeconomic data to quantify the pressures, the researchers found that the vast majority of countries and industrial sectors are exposed to over-exploited and insecure water, energy and land resources.
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