The threat posed by environmental crimes

illegal dump

Much waste in Europe is managed illegally. Projects such as EMERITUS can help mitigate the problem.


Illegal waste management poses a significant threat to the environment, impacting ecosystems, public health, and sustainable development. Recent surveys and reports in the United Kingdom and Italy reveal the alarming scale of this issue and the urgent need for effective measures to combat illegal waste management practices.


A recent UK Environment Agency’s survey indicates that almost a fifth of all waste is illegally managed, undermining efforts towards a circular economy. Illegal waste dumping contaminates habitats and water sources and poses health risks to humans and animals. Additionally, it diverts resources away from legal waste management systems, leading to increased costs for waste disposal.

The situation is no less bright in Italy, where, according to the latest edition of the Ecomafia report issued by the Italian environmentalist association Legambiente, there were over 30,000 reported crimes against the environment in 2022 only. Such reported crimes include illegal waste disposal and burning, actions that threaten landscapes, tourism, agriculture, and public health. Moreover, organized crime involvement exacerbates the challenge, necessitating strong collaboration between law enforcement and environmental agencies.


Projects like EMERITUS play a vital role in combating environmental crimes. EMERITUS is an innovative initiative fostering collaboration among European law enforcement, environmental authorities, and research institutions. Advanced data analytics help identify patterns of environmental crimes and hotspots, aiding resource allocation and cross-border cooperation. The project offers innovative solutions and empowers stakeholders involved in the fight against environmental crimes.


By strengthening regulations, increasing enforcement efforts, and promoting public engagement, we can combat illegal waste management practices and safeguard our planet’s natural resources. Let us embrace projects like EMERITUS and work towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for all.