The SWEAP exchange in Rotterdam (Netherlands) involved 18 Waste Inspection and Enforcement Officers from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Romania and the Netherlands. The port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest sea port. Over 30,000 sea-going vessels visited in 2018. Almost 500 million tons of cargo and 9 million shipping containers moved through the port in 2018. A large volume of waste shipments are exported from Europe via Rotterdam, on to other destinations around the world, including Asia.
The exchange was hosted by the Inspectorate for Environment and Transport (part of The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) of the Netherlands. On Monday the 27th May 2019 practical experiences, procedures and learning outcomes where shared by the group of officers. Dutch colleagues described the volume of waste shipments transiting Rotterdam Port and the major waste problems faced in The Netherlands.
The working relationship with Customs was explained at a visit to The Dutch Customs offices at Rotterdam Port on Tuesday the 28th May 2019. Customs work closely with the Dutch Environmental Inspectorate to target specific waste streams based on domestic and global waste issues. All illegal shipments detected are notified to the Inspectorate. The group were given a tour of the facilities and equipment and a practical demonstration of the waste inspection process.
On Wednesday 29th May 2019 the group visited AVR incinerator plant at Rotterdam Port. AVR specialises in the processing over 2 million tonnes per year of various types of residual waste. The incineration process is complex and variable, transforming the waste into energy and resources for homes and businesses.
SWEAP Inspector Exchanges are vital to achieving the project objectives, as they increase the skill sets of inspectors and law enforcement agencies, strengthening collaboration nationally and internationally. The exchange enables officers to develop innovative tools and techniques that may be unknown in their own jurisdictions and are an invaluable way for newer participants to learn from Member States with a well-established waste shipment enforcement regimes.
The participants expressed that they benefited from sharing experiences between the group and that the partnerships would strengthen with more exchanges. The group members said they would recommend hosting or taking part in exchanges to their colleagues. As part of the Inspector Exchanges Action in total 30 exchanges will take place during the project. This will provide IMPEL and its partners with invaluable training, collaboration and intelligence in tackling illegal waste movements worldwide.