More legal rulings on shipments of illegal waste in 2013

Significantly more court decisions taken on exports of waste to Africa and Eastern Europe

Richter mit HammerClick to enlarge
Illegal waste shipment is tracked
Source: apops / Fotolia.com

The number of people who were fined for illegal shipments of waste increased in 2013, according to an evaluation by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) of the court judgements. Exports consisted mainly of used cars, spare parts and used electrical and electronic equipment which was on its way to Africa. Exports to the eastern countries of the EU and shipments between Germany and Netherlands also proved to be illegal in many cases. There was a total of 43 sentencings, compared to only roughly ten in previous years. The reason for this increase is most likely a result of the tightening of waste shipment law in 2012. Section 326 Para 2 of the Penal Code now applies to all types of waste and not only that which is classified as dangerous.

The sentences imposed were rather mild: fines imposed ranged between €160 and €4,800 only. Prison sentences have only rarely been passed. Risk potential, which is mainly determined by quantity, type and intended use of wastes, was relatively low in the registered cases, and therefore the mild sentencing across the board is appropriate.

Often legal proceedings are closed for different reasons, and regulatory hazard control action only is taken. Instructions to re-import waste was ordered in 150 cases, with another 80 instances of instructions to ship waste to a treatment facility in the vicinity of the inspection location.

Violations of the Waste Shipment Act can be met with a fine. In 2013 the federal states and the Federal Office for Goods Transport reported a total of 26 penalty proceedings involving fines of €200 and more to UBA . Fines of less than €200 were not considered in this assessment.

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