The UK Government’s Environment Agency (EA) has announced that 21 waste containers, which were illegally exported to Sri Lanka in 2017, have been successfully returned to their point of origin in the UK.
The Sri Lankan authorities found that the containers held illegal materials hidden in mattresses and carpets, which had been exported for reuse.
The shipment has now arrived back in the UK. Meanwhile, EA enforcement officers are looking to find the type of waste illegally shipped and who exported it. The EA has said the exporters could face unlimited fines, a custodial sentence of up to two years and the recovery of any assets and money gained from the deal.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, targeted waste criminals by saying: “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 handled 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.”