Tunisian organizations condemned Tunisia and Rome’s “indolence” regarding the return of waste that was imported illegally from Italy, despite the expiration of the legal deadlines for that.
Informed sources reported that waste containers, which are prohibited to be exported according to Tunisian law and international legislation, are still in the port of the eastern province of Sousse since the summer of 2020.
A spokesman for the Court of First Instance in Sousse, Jaber Al-Ghunaimi, said that the Italian authorities had imposed on the “Company” in the south of the country to return these containers within a period not exceeding 90 days, starting from December 9th.
26 people are being prosecuted in this corruption case, including 8 imprisoned, including the former Minister of Environment, Mustafa Laroui, and customs officials, and another on the run, who is the director of the Tunisian waste supplier company.
Hamdi Shaaban, an expert in waste valuation and a member of the “Green Tunisia” organizations coalition, considers that “there is no keenness on the part of the Tunisian and Italian authorities to return this waste … this indolence is unacceptable.”
Shaaban, a member of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, confirmed that organizations working in the field of the environment will organize a demonstration on Sunday morning in the port of Sousse to demand the immediate return of the containers.
“The state is making great diplomatic efforts to find solutions with the Italian authorities to return the waste as soon as possible,” said Ali Abbas, the official in charge of state disputes.
He added, “It is the Italian exporting company that is complacent by repeatedly resorting to the judiciary of its country, but this is their internal problem, and the Italian authorities must assume their responsibility to return the waste.”
The case raised the Tunisian public opinion, and it seems that this file reveals the ramifications of the illegal waste trade that is increasing in the face of toughening European standards.
In a report released in August, Interpol warned of a spike in shipments of illegal plastic waste since 2018.