Waste without borders: Ukrainian-Polish-Slovakian audit of hazardous waste transport

The meeting host was NIK President who invited his counterparts from Ukraine and Slovakia to NIK Branch in Rzeszów. The key point of the visit was signing of the audit report.

Presidents of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland signing the Joint Report of the audit on “Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes in the light of the Basel Convention”
Presidents of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland signing the Joint Report of the audit on “Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes in the light of the Basel Convention”

The Basel Convention of 1989, signed and ratified by nearly all countries of the world (by Poland in 1992), is to protect people and natural environment against adverse impact of hazardous waste, and thus to limit the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. It is impossible to implement the provisions of the Basel Convention without effectively controlling the transfer of such wastes. This is what became an inspiration for the international audit.

The parallel audits conducted by the Supreme Audit Office of Poland, the Supreme Audit Office of Slovakia and the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine ended in a statement where the three SAIs agreed that these countries still lack a properly functioning and effective system for controlling the international movements of hazardous wastes.

President of the Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś,  President of the SAI of Slovakia Karol Mitrik and Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine Valeriy Patskan in front of the Rzeszów City Council
President of the Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś, President of the SAI of Slovakia Karol Mitrik and Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine Valeriy Patskan in front of the Rzeszów City Council

The trilateral Joint Report pointed to two primary causes of this unfavourable situation:

  • the control of wastes at border crossings among Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland consisted mainly in verifying transportation documents. It was not checked if the type and quantity of wastes comply with the data declared in those documents;
  • the condition of equipment of border authorities did not ensure identification of transported wastes and exact determination of their quantity.

In view of the leaky system of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and in order to properly implement the Basel Convention provisions, the Supreme Audit Institutions of Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland agreed that the following steps should be taken in particular:

  • necessary amendments should be made to the national law to further specify the waste control obligation, including determination of the scope and manner of that control and the rules of cooperation among responsible authorities;
  • border authorities should be provided with equipment enabling accurate determination of the quantity and type of transported waste.

NIK addressed the issue transboundary movements of hazardous wastes as early as in 2007. Already then the results of audit transboundary movements of hazardous wastes among Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland from 2004 to 2007 (1st half), published in autumn last year, showed that Poland did not implement the provisions of the Basel Convention because the border control in this area was ineffective.

President of the Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś and other participants of the meeting in Rzeszów
President of the Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś and other participants of the meeting in Rzeszów

Sadly, as could be seen in the results of the audit of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes among Ukraine, Slovakia and Poland (the Polish part of the Joint Report signed today), there was no improvement in this respect for 13 years.

NIK auditors found that only 8% of wastes transported through the border with Ukraine from January 2015 to June 2019 were subject to detailed control. The customs clearance of other wastes was usually limited to verifying transportation documents. According to NIK, efforts taken by three ministers: the Minister of Climate, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration are essential for tighter and more effective border control system. The provisions of the Polish Act on Transboundary Movements of Wastes should be further specified and border crossings should be provided with essential equipment.

Article informations

Date of creation:
30 July 2021 12:07
Date of publication:
30 July 2021 12:07
Published by:
Marta Połczyńska
Date of last change:
30 July 2021 14:21
Last modified by:
Andrzej Gaładyk
Logotypes of the SAIs of Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia; Border Guard officer and environmental protection inspector during a control of hazardous waste transport

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