Environmental crimes are one of the most profitable types of criminal activity, with an estimated worth of up to $258 billion every year. Some of the most common environmental crimes are logging protected forests, mining, waste dumping and wildlife trade.
The value of environmental crime is shocking. Around the world, only drug dealing, counterfeiting and human trafficking are more profitable, with crimes against nature ranking fourth in the globe.
A new report from the European Environmental Bureau ‘Crime and punishment‘ shows that not all environmental crimes are currently recognised in Europe as such which leads to inadequate and low sanctions. For example, in the eye of the law, extraction of water is a crime only if it harms a protected area.
While the European Union has been putting environmental policy at the heart of its work with its ambitious ‘Green Deal’, campaigners are arguing that more needs to be done to tackle environmental crime, including the introduction to stricter punishments to deter would-be criminals.
Francesca Carlsson, EEB Legal Officer said:
“Environmental crimes are costing us billions as well as costing the Earth, it is not acceptable that criminals too often get away or receive low sanctions when they are harming our environment. We need more resources for law enforcement all over Europe to ensure that environmental crimes are adequately investigated and punished.”
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