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Project Eden is an INTERPOL initiative to combat the illegal trade in waste, particularly electronic waste.

The issues

The illegal trade and disposal of waste threatens the quality of the global environment and poses a significant risk to human health.

When waste is discarded improperly or with little regard for environmental regulations, ecosystems are left vulnerable to the unregulated trade, endangering our air, water and soil.

The illicit trade in waste undermines international conventions, undercuts legitimate treatment facilities and permits the loss of recoverable raw materials, thereby threatening long-term economic sustainability and national development.

The response

INTERPOL’s Project Eden was launched during the Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Events, held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2013.

The project works closely with the INTERPOL Pollution Crime Working Group on the following objectives:

  • Raise awareness of the illegal transnational movement of waste and the environmental and health consequences;
  • Establish National Environmental Security Task Forces (NESTs) to ensure institutionalized cooperation between national agencies, INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and international partners;
  • Develop sustainable institutional capacity of government agencies responsible for enforcing environmental legislation;
  • Promote an intelligence-led approach and conduct operations to suppress criminal activity and disrupt trafficking;
  • Examine the movement of electronic waste within and out of Europe through the CWIT Project (Countering WEEE Illegal Trade), a multi-disciplinary consortium funded by the European Commission.  

Project Eden aims to fulfil these objectives by supporting member countries in:

  • Criminal intelligence exchange and analysis to identify criminal networks, their reach and their modus operandi;
  • Regionally targeted operations conducted in importing and exporting countries. Operation Enigma Phase I targeted the movement of electronic waste between Europe and Africa. Operations Haz and Haz II targeted the illegal transport of hazardous waste between the US and Canada;
  • Training and capacity building to enhance understanding of international conventions.