Environmental police met in the northern port city of Hai Phong on November 5 to seek legal support for a ban on imports of obsolete equipment and the transfer of out-of-date technology into the country.

The symposium, entitled “To prevent and combat violations of environmental law through imports-exports”, drew police from 24 border and sea port provinces and cities as well as representatives from the customs service, and veterinary and natural resources and environment sectors.

The participants called upon relevant agencies to soon complete a legal corridor to block imports of scrap materials and equipment by issuing regulations to stop the inflow of obsolete and outdated technology.

Current legal documents on environmental crimes are insufficient and regulations remain vague, making it easy for offenders to escape punishment, the symposium heard.

Experts also called for stronger international cooperation in the battle, to stem the trafficking of waste and unwanted materials from other countries.

They also emphasised the need to establish a mechanism to exchange information and promote cooperation among police, customs officers, market management agencies and border guards in this battle.

They complained that the current coordination between environmental police and other responsible agencies is still too loose, leading to inefficient results in the fight against environmental crimes.

The environmental police reported that millions of tonnes of commodities have been imported through almost 60 border gates and 49 seaports, including cargo which threatens the environment, such as industrial and toxic waste.

Colonel and Dr Nguyen Xuan Ly, Head of the Environmental Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said his staff, in coordination with other responsible agencies, has detected 2,575 cases where environmental regulations were violated, including 200 cases regarding imports-exports.

Police have levied fines to the tune of 142 billion VND and forced offenders to re-export or destroy some 20,000 tonnes of assorted waste./.