RO environment minister: Timber tracking system SUMAL to be ready at the end of January
The new version of the Automated System for Timber Tracking SUMAL will be ready on January 31, environment minister Tanczos Barna told television station Antena 3 in an interview.
"At the end of the month, on January 31, the system is ready. Data will be uploaded into the system," the minister said, quoted by Agerpres.
At the end of last year, Barna said SUMAL would become the main tool in the fight against illegal logging.
The system would allow the GPS tracking of timber from the forest to the storage facilities, he explained.
"What will the system do? It follows timber from the forest to the first warehouse, starting from the paperwork, the quantity, the company authorized to perform the logging, who does the loading, and the storage. The entire route. This is the first phase. Afterward, out of the first warehouse, the route, on forestry, county, national, or European roads, is tracked by GPS. […] the route to the first processing," Barna explained, quoted by Agerpres.
The minister explained that all operators need to declare the quantities of timber; all that is found outside of the amount stated will be confiscated, and legal action will follow.
Barna also mentioned that the governing program covers the setting up of a department staffed by prosecutors specializing in environment offenses and forestry issues in particular.
"We need to improve the institutional capacity of the investigators. This is why we included in the governing program the establishment of a department or an entity, part of current investigation structures, where prosecutors will specialize in investigations in the environment area […] We need specialized people," Barna explained.
The minister also said no one could deny that illegal logging happens in Romania's forests.
"No one can deny the existence of illegal logging. I wouldn't use the word clearing because it is a term established by law, this is illegal logging […] No one can deny that theft and illegal logging happens," he said, quoted by News.ro.
In October 2020, the Environment Ministry said that the new version of SUMAL would be operational in November 2020 and would run in parallel with the previous one until the end of January 2021 to allow everyone to get accustomed to it.