Illegal logging in Romania: almost 1,000 criminal files opened in August and September
Illegal logging is still a major problem in Romania, but the local authorities have intensified their controls and sanctions starting August, in their effort to combat this issue.
According to Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, the authorities have performed some 55,000 controls and issued some 60,000 fines. They also discovered more than 2,500 crimes related to illegal logging, which resulted in almost 1,000 criminal files.
Moreover, about 50,000 cubic meters of wood were seized during these checks, three times more than in a normal period of controls.
“In summer, we said that we intended to take some measures to control illegal logging. […] Then, in mid-August, I first asked the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Environment and tax agency ANAF to start a series of complex controls in the entire timber industry, from cutting to marketing, to check the legality of exploitation and movement of wood. This control began in mid-August and was completed in late September, but I asked for it to be extended in October,” Ciolos said before the Government meeting on Wednesday.
Thus, these intensified checks have confirmed that there are problems that should be addressed. This could be done by amending the legislation and by increasing the number of controls, the Prime Minister also said.
Thus, Dacian Ciolos would want the controls to continue in the coming months. He also asked the Environment Ministry to come with clarifications in the coming period, even from the legislative point of view, to provide sufficient quantities of firewood for the population. According to him, the recent checks have somehow affected the amount of firewood available for the population, as part of it was coming from illegal sources.
In early-June this year, a report from Greenpeace Romania revealed worrying statistics on illegal logging in the country: the local authorities registered a total of 34,870 cases of illegal logging in 2015, which means an average of 96 cases per day. The number represented a sharp increase from the 2013-2014 period when Romania registered 62 such cases per day, or 2012 when the number stood at 50 cases per day.
Irina Popescu, email@example.com