RO Govt. passes ordinance criminalizing waste burning and burying
The Government has passed an emergency ordinance criminalizing waste burning and burying, environment minister Tánczos Barna announced on Wednesday, April 6.
Such acts can be punished with prison time between three and five years, according to the ordinance.
“Every time, since starting my mandate, I supported the need for harsher punishment for the illegal, improper waste management. Burning and burying impact us all, it damages the air, and it damages underground waters almost irreversibly; this is why, also at Parliamentary hearings, I supported every time the need for a fast decision in this respect. We decided on an emergency ordinance because we could not wait any longer,” the environment minister said.
At the same time, the definition of waste dumping was clarified, and the fines for this increased, the minister said. For individuals, the fines for dumped waste start at RON 10,000 (EUR 2,000) and can go up to RON 20,000 (EUR 4,000). For legal entities, these start at RON 50,000 (EUR 10,000) and can reach RON 70,000 (EUR 14,000).
The fines for stubble burning also increased. For individuals, these now range between RON 7,000 (EUR 1,500) and RON 15,000 (EUR 3,000) and for legal entities between RON 50,000 (EUR 10,000) and RON 100,000 (EUR 20,000).
The decision on the increased fines comes as the country was faced with a wave of vegetation fires. At one point, there were 7,000 simultaneous fires or stubble burners, the minister said, pointing to outcomes such as air pollution, habitat destruction, and the expansion of the fires to forested areas or households. He also gave the example of the recent fire at Văcărești Nature Park, and said the fines should be as high as possible.
Over the past year, Bucharest recorded spikes in air pollution after the illegal burning of used car tires in localities around the capital.
The ordinance also defines a framework allowing local authorities to expropriate needed land for waste management.
(Photo: George Calin/ Inquam Photos)