[photopress:Chinese_customs_officers.jpg,full,alignright]Chinese customs officers are on the lookout for smugglers of endangered species, hazardous waste and ozone depleting substances. A workshop at the Shanghai Customs College aims to train the trainers from regional customs agencies. The training emphasizes cooperation that is expected to become a lasting partnership between China customs officials and the other partners.
Currently China Customs operates at 253 first-class ports – including airports, sea ports and land passes – approved by the central government and around 200 second-class ports approved by provincial governments.
China has a land border 22,000 kilometers long and a sea border of 18,000 kilometers.
A wide range of chemicals, including persistent organic pollutants and chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, are now controlled, banned or subject to phase-outs under multilateral environmental agreements.
In June 2003 when UNEP and the World Customs Organization signed an agreement to foster stronger ties between the two organizations on environmental enforcement issues.
The initiative focuses on training border guards and the training is begining to show results.
China Customs seized nearly 8.2 metric tons of dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12), an ozone depleting substance used in refrigerant and air conditioning systems, between September 1 and November 30, 2006. The seizures were made in Guandong Province – 752 kilograms in Shengzhen and 7.5 metric tons at Huanpu Port.
Meanwhile treaties such as the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, cover trade in wildlife.
Between 1999 and 2005, Chinese customs officers seized 80 tiger skins and 31 skeletons, 744 leopard skins and six skeletons, and 19 snow leopard skins and one skeleton, according to a 2006 report published on the website of the China CITES Management Authority.
Source: Environment News Service