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Dakar, Senegal, 18 May, 2021 – German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd has been caught in the act of fraud by Senegalese Customs. According to Liberation, the fifth largest ship owner in the world was fraudulently trying to bring 25 tons of plastic waste into Senegal. [1] The illegal shipment of plastic waste was seized on the ship Hansa Neuburg. The company agreed to a fine of 2 billion CFA francs in addition to re-exporting the products in question.

This news comes a day after Greenpeace and the BBC exposed how the United Kingdom has been dumping and burning plastic waste in Turkey.

Greenpeace Africa Oceans Campaigner Awa Traoré has said:

“It is disheartening to see that countries in the Global North have no respect for the laws they collectively come up with and vote into place, let alone the laws of our countries, which serve to protect our people. They only recognise our sovereignty when it suits them; and when it doesn’t, we quickly switch back into wastelands they’ve tried to turn us into for centuries.

“The UN Environment Programme released a report earlier this year about how plastic pollution has a disproportionate impact on minority groups and marginalised communities, and countries. It found that these communities experienced high rates of environmental injustice while generally contributing the least to environmental destruction.

“Africa is not a dumping ground and can no longer be at the mercy of corporate interests. They ‘greenwash’ the world into believing that plastic packing can be sustainable, and then it ends up on our shores. The Senegalese government set a good precedent by imposing such a hefty fine, hopefully other African governments faced with the same issue will follow.”

Notes to Editor –

[1] Article (in French) “Port de Dakar : 24 containeurs allemands remplis de déchets saisis !”

[2] In 2019, plastic waste was classed as other hazardous substances which are restricted from multinational trade in the Basel Convention (these substances include e-waste and nuclear waste). 

[3] Last year, the Senegalese government adopted a ban on several single-use plastic items in an effort to tackle its growing plastic crisis, including plastic sachets and coffee cups.

[4] In 2019, The Guardian reported that the United States dumped 1 billion tonnes of plastic in Senegal in the space of a year.

[5] Images of plastic waste in Senegal are available here.

Contacts:

Greenpeace Africa press desk: [email protected]

Mikaïla Issa, Consultant Communications and Media for Greenpeace Africa: +221782199410, [email protected]

Awa Traoré, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner: +221770993001, [email protected]