13 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Factories, organisations and industrial complexes around the Netherlands have been examined in a surprise inspection to see if the nation’s environment laws are being complied with.
Starting at midday on Wednesday, environmental officers started a massive operation that stretched into the night before winding down at noon on Thursday.
Dubbed “milieu-estafette” or environment relay, the 24-hour drive was intended not only to detect infractions of the environmental laws — which among other things deal with waste disposal — but also to impress on the various governmental organisations charged with monitoring compliance that they have a joint responsibility to carry out the work properly.
As the unannounced spot checks continued through Wednesday night, inspectors got a clearer idea where factories and companies continue to comply with the rules outside office hours.
Companies found to be in breach of the rules were issued with warnings or summons.
Although the operation was meant to be a 24-hour affair, work continued for hours longer in some places. “Some inspectors got so enthusiastic that they are continuing until 5pm,” said spokesperson Krijn van Rijn for the North Holland province’s environmental inspectorate.
In North Holland alone, some 250 officers carried out about 92 inspections and the results are expected to be announced on Monday.
The environmental relay system was first field-tested in the province of Limburg in 2001, after criticism that inspectors did not carry out checks after 5pm when public offices close. More provinces decided to take part in mass testing after the Limburg experiment proved successful.
[Copyright Novum Nieuws 2004]
Subject: Dutch news