Managing waste is an issue that every local and national authority has to deal with. A large network of ecomafias acting in all Europe have taken advantage from the single marke
t and Schengen to make waste disposal a communitarian activity. Local organized crime groups find legal and illegal landfills in which to dispose of the waste by bribing or threatening local officials. The extended network moves the waste from country to country, from North to South and from West to East.
While the national authorities are hesitant or reluctant to enforce their obligations for pursuit of environmental crimes under the humble EU environmental legislation, the eco mafia has already become trans-national. Provided that the member states individually are unable to cope with organized environmental criminality and they are unwilling to confer a larger degree of their national sovereignty to European institutions, the fight has yielded modest results. A first step would be to use the existing tools more efficiently. The meaning and effect of EU instruments in the criminal law domain such as the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the member states of the European Union, European Arrest Warrant, the Framework Directive on Confiscation Orders could be extended much wider in the field of environmental crimes.
By the same token, EU agencies such as Eurojust, Europol, the European Prosecutor’s Office could focus more on nature-related wrongdoing in their activities. Cooperation among member states shall be fostered, too. Until then, the current picture of environmental crimes in Europe largely resembles the image in the philosophical mind of Rousseau put forward in his breath-taking piece, Discourse on Inequality (1754), with the EU member states as our contemporary stag-hunters.
Every hunter in the stag hunt must remain faithful to his post. But if a rabbit happened to pass within the reach of one of them, we cannot doubt that he would have gone off in pursuit of it without any scruple.
To find out more about this topic, you can read some of these articles or check out some of these videos:
- Anesi, C., Rubino, G. and Reuter D. (2011) Toxic Europe: A documentary on the mechanisms and the flows of the illegal hazardous waste trafficking in Europe Trailers available hereand here
- GreenPeace (2000) A fifteen year toxic scandal: Italian Hazardous Waste in Sinop and Samsun, Turkey Available here
- McCarthy, M. and Philips, J. (2008) Italy’s toxic waste crisis, the Mafia – and the scandal of Europe’s mozzarella The Independent Available here
- Colombo, F. (2011) Mafia dominates garbage industry Tierramerica Available here
- Mafia Today (2011) Mafia earning €20bn from dumping toxic waste Available here
- Ciotti, S. (2008) The dangerous and toxic waste management and the organized crime: from exploitation to international health emergency Available here
- Interpol (2007) Electronic waste and organized crime: assessing the links Available here
- Vernetti, G. and Ghia, R. For Flare Netowrk (2011) Toxic Televisions: organised crime and electronic waste in the UK Available here
- Legambiente (2003) The illegal trafficking in illegal waste in Italy and Spain Available here
- Beken, T. (2007) The European Waste Industry and Crime Vulnerabilities Available here
- Anesi, C. and Rubino, G. (2010) The bluff of the [un]solved waste emergency Available here
- Emiliano Mellino’sradio interviewto WasteEurope on toxic waste (2010)