The Environment Agency is to probe how a reported 113 shipping containers of toxic waste from the UK and the Netherlands ended up in Indonesian waters.
The containers, seized by officials at Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port, held a hazardous cocktail of metals, refuse and electronic waste despite import documents listing contents as harmless scrap steel, local reports said.
The Environment Agency said it was “attempting to establish the facts” and that it would work with the Dutch and Indonesian authorities to resolve the matter.
A spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the press reports about the seized containers, but have not yet been contacted by the authorities in Indonesia.
“Illegal waste export undermines law-abiding recycling businesses at home and risk harming people and the environment in the country that the waste is sent to.
“Waste crime is unacceptable and our National Enforcement Service works closely with the police, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Borders Agency, local authorities, shipping lines and the legitimate waste industry to tackle it.”
The Environment Agency’s National Enforcement Service is currently leading on 22 complex investigations into waste crime and in the last two years hassuccessfully prosecuted 500 cases of illegal waste activities.
EA head of waste and illegals Mat Crocker last month told MRW of his ambition to shut down almost 300 illegal waste sites in England and Wales following a £5m cash investment into the watchdog’s crime unit.