8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced since the 1950s. By 2050, this amount is expected to double.
Since the generation of such an enormous amount plastic waste is far beyond what most countries can treat on their own, this plastic waste is unlawfully shipped out of some countries, especially richer countries, and into low-income countries.
Such illegal activities have not been targeted effectively due to a lack of information-sharing between the customs administrations of the outbound and inbound countries.
Even when illegal waste imports have been detected by the customs of one country, these infractions have not been notified directly to the customs of the exporting country, leaving illegal exporters unpunished in many cases.
Operation Green Earth has been initiated to strengthen such activities of cracking down on the illegal trade of waste and participated in by 20 member administrations and supported by the UNEP and the Basel Convention.