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New E-waste Trafficking Routes in Southeast Asia

Stringent enforcement in one country commonly leads to changes in traditional illegal shipment routes through neighbouring countries. Strong enforcement practices, such as China’s Green Fence campaign, have been changing the traditional routes for illegal waste shipments. For example, Vietnam has been a transit country for movement of discarded CRT televisions and other household appliances to China. The illegal goods were transported to the Mong Cai border gate, where they were carried over the border river into Dongxing, China, close to China’s biggest informal recycling centre, Guangdong Province. In 2014, more complicated and convoluted routes of e-waste shipment were discovered by Chinese customs authorities. Early in 2014, members of three smuggling gangs that had imported 72 000 tonnes of e-waste, in total, into China over the previous year – the largest quantity ever found in the country – were arrested (Glombal Times 2014). What made the case interesting was the route the smugglers took. Unlike the traditional route of sea-land transportation, which uses Hong Kong as the main transit port, the smugglers shipped the e-waste from Hong Kong to another northeast Asian country and then smuggled the waste by small boats to Liaoning Province in northeast China. Finally, the e-waste was transported to Guangdong Province, commonly the final destination for illegal recycling but thousands of kilometres away from Liaoning.

Year: 2015

From collection: Waste Crime - Waste Risks

Cartographer: Riccardo Pravettoni, GRID-Arendal

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