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30 June 2014

Environment Canada and INTERPOL unite to fight pollution crimes

LYON, France – The forensic investigation of environmental pollution in developing countries is set to take a leap forward with the unveiling of an important new manual for law enforcement worldwide.

The INTERPOL Pollution Crime Forensic Investigation Manual includes practical and low-cost methods to guide investigators through the forensic environmental investigation process, from initial receipt of information of a potential violation, to evidence gathering, analysis and the preparation and presentation of data for prosecutions.

“Environmental pollution is a worldwide issue, however many countries face limited resources and training to address this problem,” said Gord Owen, Chief Enforcement Officer with Environment Canada.

“By sharing Canadian expertise with INTERPOL and its 190 member countries, we are helping to bridge that gap in order to assist our international colleagues to strengthen the law enforcement response to this problem,” added Mr Owen.

As well as outlining how to deal with specific types of pollution, such as contamination by agricultural pesticides, chemical spills, illegal fishing using cyanide, slaughter waste from an abattoir and improper disposal of sewage, the manual also gives clear instructions on the equipment needed and how to take samples from air, water, soil and wildlife.

“This manual provides technical skills in an accessible format to our member countries to assist them in achieving effective outcomes in environmental enforcement,” said Cees van Duijn, Manager of Environmental Quality within INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit.

“This effort is a representation not only of the continued collaboration between INTERPOL and Environment Canada, but also of the international cooperation necessary to preserve the integrity of our shared environment,” concluded Mr van Duijn.

Launched at the start of the two-day (30 June and 1 July) workshop on pollution forensics at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France, the manual – a collaborative effort by experts from a range of countries – is also aimed at generating momentum for a long-term project plan and a training curriculum to strengthen the capacity for environmental investigations worldwide.

By harnessing the high level of expertise to be shared within the international community, the curriculum can be expanded beyond forensics to also cover investigative skills for pollution crime, as well as specialized training for prosecutors.

The handbook can be downloaded here: volume I; volume II.

Environment Canada, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws to protect Canada’s environment, has created a free subscription service to help the public stay up-to-date with what the Government of Canada is doing. It can be accessed here: