October 28, 2011

Report from the Exchange of Nigerian Inspectors to Antwerp and Bremen Ports

Inspector Exchange Participants

From 10-14 October 2011, Nigerian officers visited their colleagues in Antwerp, Belgium, and Bremen, Germany. This exchange was facilitated by INECE in collaboration with the involved authorities in Antwerp, Bremen, and Nigeria.

The objective of the event was to learn mutually about the procedures and practice regarding the inspection of international waste shipments in the ports. Such inspections are important to detect and prevent those shipments that are illegal.

Through a mixture of presentations, discussions and practical demonstrations and exercises, the involved officers got acquainted with several essential approaches and the challenges they present.

Important recurring issues were the following:

(more…)

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November 4, 2010

INTERPOL Operation Targets Illegal Trade in Endangered Reptiles

Sea Turtle, Photo credit Yannick Beadoin

INTERPOL reports that

A worldwide operation co-ordinated by INTERPOL and involving 51 countries across all five continents against the illegal trade in reptiles and amphibians has resulted in arrests worldwide and the seizure of thousands of animals as well as of products worth more than 25 million Euros.

Including national wildlife enforcement authorities, police, customs and specialized units from participating countries, Operation RAMP (September – October) focused particularly on illegal activities relating to the trade and possession of endangered reptiles such as turtles and snakes which included Boa constrictors. The operation resulted in thousands of searches and inspections being conducted, and saw hundreds of suspects being investigated or charged as part of an on-going series of investigations. The goods seized included leather products, and illicit firearms and drugs were also uncovered.

During the two month-long operation, which led to investigations into individuals and companies as well as inspections of premises such as seaports and wholesalers, INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme unit acted as a key operational communications and intelligence centre, facilitating the exchange of information between the world police body’s member countries participating in the operation.

For the full report, see http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/PressReleases/PR2010/PR089.asp

October 4, 2010

Environmental Compliance Inspections Handbook: A Regional Model from Argentina

Filed under: Compliance Inspections, Compliance Training, South America — Tags: — inece @ 2:47 pm

The Cuenca Mantanza Riachuelo: Manual Para Inspectores provides practical guidance for environmental inspectors in the area of the Matanza-Riachuelo river basin in Argentina.

The six chapters of the Handbook are organized into four distinct parts. The first deals with general aspects of the environmental inspection and is closely related to USEPA’s Conducting Environmental Compliance Inspections: Inspectors Field Manual. The second part describes the Matanza Riachuelo area, particularly its territorial, geopolitical, social, and economic aspects to provide context for the inspector. The third part covers the legal framework — both in terms of the environmental law for each of the jurisdictions (national level, Province of Buenos Aires and City of Buenos Aires) that make up the basin and in terms of the key legal provisions for environmental inspections. The final part discusses technical aspects of environmental inspections, such as liquid effluent, air emissions and waste, focusing on current field procedures used in the Matanza Riachuelo Watershed.

The new manual is available (in Spanish) at
http://www.ambiente.gob.ar/archivos/web/Ppnud08/file/Manual_Inspectores_New.pdf.

—————–

Los seis capítulos de la Cuenca Mantanza Riachuelo: Manual Para Inspectores se organizan en cuatro partes bien diferenciadas. La primera trata sobre aspectos generales de la inspección ambiental y ha tenido como principal fuente el Manual de Inspecciones de Cumplimiento Ambiental, edición Centroamericana y República Dominicana de US EPA (disponible en español). La segunda corresponde a una descripción de la Cuenca Matanza Riachuelo, particularmente de sus aspectos territoriales, geográficos, sociales y económicos, de manera de situar al inspector en el marco territorial donde desenvuelve su acción. Allí, se expone el caso Mendoza y la normas vigentes en la ACUMAR, tanto de carácter institucional como operativo desde el punto de vista de la inspección. La tercera parte presenta, por un lado, la normativa especifi ca sobre la materia en cada una de las jurisdicciones (Nación, Provincia de Buenos Aires y Ciudad de Buenos Aires) que conforman la Cuenca, por otro lado, se presenta aquella que resulta esencial par el desarrollo de la actividad de un inspector ACUMAR. Ambas de conocimiento fundamental para la tarea. Finalmente, la cuarta parte, incluye la descripción de los aspectos técnicos de carácter general de una inspección ambiental en cuanto a efluentes líquidos, gaseosos y residuos, haciendo foco en los procedimientos vigentes en el ámbito de la Cuenca Matanza Riachuelo.

El nuevo manual está disponible en español en
http://www.ambiente.gob.ar/archivos/web/Ppnud08/file/Manual_Inspectores_New.pdf.

August 5, 2010

Newsletter Highlights Environment, Health, and Safety Enforcement in Africa

Filed under: Africa, Compliance Inspections — Tags: , , — inece @ 12:40 pm

Enhesa, Inc.’s July 2010 Newsletter, The Enhesa Flash, highlights Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) enforcement efforts throughout Africa.  Copies of The July Enhesa Flash are available for complimentary download as a large PDF file.

Particular articles that may be of interest include:

  • Getting Stronger:  EHS laws expanding across Africa [pg 1]
    Since the beginning of the 1990s, several African countries have begun to expand their legislative framework by addressing environmental and occupational health and safety issues. Deregulation and privatisation, the shift to a market-based economy and growing efforts to enhance political stability favoured the promotion and the development of the private sector, including foreign direct investments. By the end of the 1990s, most countries had made environmental impact assessment (EIA) mandatory for regulated business operations. Today, while these regulations are still being improved, their enforcement has gotten into its stride.”
  • Toughening up:  crack-down on facilities ignoring EHS requirements (Nigeria)  [pg. 3]
    “Effective enforcement is critical to promoting compliance with EHS laws and regulations and is a logical next step in a maturing EHS regulatory system after having adopted a functional framework…In order to encourage effective compliance with EHS laws and regulations, Nigerian authorities have recently shut down several facilities for failing to comply with EHS laws and regulations.”
  • Striving for a modern and effective environmental legal framework (South Africa) [pg. 4]
    While the South African environmental law framework has improved in substance, enforcement has not been left behind. The National Environmental Laws Amendment Act, 2009, along with other recent changes, introduces harsher judicial and administrative penalties for environmental offences.

This post was submitted by Jonathan Nwagbaraocha, Esq., Consultant, Enhesa.

July 28, 2010

Using Enforcement Response to Reduce Deforestation Rates in Brazil

Treehugger posits that credit is due to IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency, for the  observed declining rates of deforestation in Brazil.

Between 2000 and 2008, the Amazon rainforest lost an average of 18,786 km² annually; last year, that number was down to 7,464 km² last year — evidence of a shift in tactics. Ten years ago, says [IBAMA director Luciano] Evaristo, IBAMA was “looking blindly for deforestation,” with “no tools” to catch deforestation operations before it was too late. Even simple factors like cloud cover would make monitoring parts of the Amazon virtually impossible, and those cutting down the trees knew that.

In the past, IBAMA agents would essentially just drive around, trying to catch farmers and ranchers in the act. But even if a farmer or ranger was found to be illegally deforesting their land, the fines imposed on them were often contested in an endless legal battle. Amazingly, less than 1 percent of fines for deforesting have ever been paid.

After 27,772 km² of forest was deforested in 2004, the highest rate ever recorded, it became clear that these old enforcement methods really weren’t effective.

Since then, advances in technology and better enforcement methods have changed the way IBAMA operates. A recently launched satellite, developed with the help of the Chinese, allows the enforcement agency to peer through clouds, greatly enhancing their monitoring ability. Every 15 days, IBAMA receives new satellite imagery showing the latest spots where deforestation is taking place, allowing officers to close down such operations much more quickly than they could before.

Those caught illegally deforesting their land, usually farmers and ranchers making room for cattle or crops, can now expect a harder hit to their pocketbooks. Instead of only imposing fines, now enforcement agents seek to “decapitalize the crime,” says Evaristo. Deforesting cattle ranchers can now expect to have their livestock seized, while farmers’ crops will be forced to rot in the ground. Those caught with illegal timber operations, too, may be squeezed out of business; IBAMA posts the names of those landowners on their Web site for the world to see.

June 8, 2010

Summary Report Released on a Workshop on Satellite Monitoring for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement

Filed under: Compliance Inspections, Environmental Crime — inece @ 6:04 pm
SPACE RADAR IMAGE OF OIL SLICKS

NASA JPL

On 20 April 2010, the Institute for Environmental Security (IES) and the T.M.C. Asser Institute organised a meeting on The Hague Environmental Law Facility (HELF) to discuss the application of satellite monitoring for environmental law enforcement. Around 40 experts took part in the event, including practitioners from the remote sensing community,  the legal sphere, and enforcement agencies.IES recently released a summary report from the meeting, available online.

The outcomes of this workshop are important contributions to the field of identifying applications of remote sensing data in the context of environmental compliance and enforcement. Data collected remotely — which encompasses a range of mechanisms from complex satellite data systems to aircraft-based flyovers — can be an important source of information for environmental authorities. The use of remote sensing information to aid in environmental compliance inspections is explored in an INECE 8th Conference paper, Use of Remote Sensing and Other Investigatory Techniques.

The image to the right for example, captured by a radar sensor aboard a space shuttle, depicts an offshore drilling field in the Arabian Sea. The dark streaks are extensive oil slicks surrounding many of the drilling platforms, which appear as bright white spots. Radar images are useful for detecting and measuring the extent of oil seepages on the ocean surface, from both natural and industrial sources.  Click the image for more information and a larger version.

May 20, 2010

National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network reconstituted (Ghana)

Filed under: Africa, Compliance Inspections — inece @ 3:41 pm

From the Ghanaian Journal

GNA – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday reconstituted the National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network to reinforce environmental laws in Ghana.

The network made up of several enforcement agencies like the Ghana Police Service, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and various inspectorate agencies would in addition, be responsible for creating awareness about existing environmental laws.

Mr Jonathan Allotey, Executive Director of EPA, inaugurating the network said it was being reconstituted to strengthen collaboration between enforcement agencies and ensure the public complied with environmental laws.

“For instance there is a law banning the use of refrigerators with CFCs but some people are still importing such fridges to the market and we need CEPS to help check the effect of CFCs on the environment,” he said.

Mr Allotey expressed concern about the difficulty EPA faced in ensuring compliance with environmental laws and advised Ghanaians to build a culture of compliance.

He announced that to speed up the processes of acquiring environmental permit for projects, the EPA had started piloting an online registration project.

Mr Larsey Mensah, Director of Environmental Compliance and Enforcement at EPA said it had the mandate to require government agencies, MMDAs and other institutions to control pollution and protect the environment. He said reconstituting the network had become critical in view of the open violations of the various laws designed to ensure sustainability of the environment.

“The network would pay periodic visits to facilities that require various permits and licences from institutions to operate and verify whether or not there has been compliance in respect of the required operating permits and institute appropriate sanctions where necessary,” Mr Mensah added.

April 9, 2010

Updated Resource Page on Environmental Compliance Inspections

What is an environmental compliance inspection? What makes an environmental compliance inspection effective? Are there international good practices which can inform the design of an environmental compliance inspection program?

Visit INECE’s Environmental Compliance Inspections Forum for resources which can help answer these questions. The newly updated forum features improved integration with INECE’s Environmental Compliance Resource Library and a revised focus on sharing good international practice through featured case studies published as part of INECE’s past conference proceedings.

Suggest additional links and resources by emailing the INECE Secretariat at inece at inece.org.

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