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Global customs operation bags 31 tonnes of illegal HFCs

BELGIUM: Customs organisation across the world seized over 31 tonnes of illegal HFCs during an operation to thwart transboundary shipments of illegal waste and ozone depleting substances.

A 28-day operation carried out during September/October, DEMETER VI involved 73 customs administrations. It received support from a wide range of global organisations including Interpol, Europol and the European Anti-Fraud Office. 

An illegal shipment seized by Polish authorities
R410A refrigerant was part of a haul seized by Bulgarian customs

Using risk indicators and focusing on pre-identified routings and hotspots, Customs officers managed to control suspicious shipments, stop unlicensed trade and seize illegal waste and substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol. Despite the measures in place to counter the Covid-19 pandemic imposing some restrictions on customs operational capacity, this concerted enforcement effort resulted in a total of 131 seizures, including almost 99,000 tonnes of waste and an additional 78,000 pieces of waste materials. It also included approximately 42 tonnes of substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol, over 31 tonnes of which were HFCs.

Operation DEMETER VI also uncovered banned waste refrigeration equipment

Five countries reported most of the seizures of substances controlled by the Montreal Protocol were performed in Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, and Poland, while most of the seizures of waste products were in Belgium, Canada, China, Poland, and Denmark.

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