June 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

In the ranking of the profitability of criminal business in third place – environmental crime

The third most profitable “business” in the world can safely be called environmental crime.

Among its varieties are illegal activities such as mining, livestock trading, deforestation, timber trading, waste disposal, and the discharge of pollutants into water, air or soil. This type of crime in terms of profitability is second only to the illegal trade in goods and drugs.

Any act that violates environmental laws, causes serious damage or poses a threat to the environment and human health falls under the criterion of environmental crime.

According to the UN Environment Program data for 2016, the illegal traffic of waste is estimated at 10-12 billion dollars (10.28-12.34 billion euros) per year. Criminal networks save on the costs of proper disposal and obtaining permits, and it is now clear that for many criminal networks, the profits from waste management are so huge that it has become more interesting than drug trafficking. Europol claims that environmental crime generates between $110 billion and $280 billion a year.

A study by the German Association of Engineers (VDI) in 2021 found that illegal logging accounts for 30% of activity in the global forestry sector. At the same time, in countries producing tropical wood, for example, in the Amazon basin, this figure can reach almost 90%. Profits from illegal logging have increased substantially as well-crafted tropical hardwoods are becoming rarer and in greater demand, for example for yacht construction.

Under current law, all countries in the European Union must apply effective and proportionate criminal penalties for environmental crimes when they are committed intentionally or through gross negligence. Moral permission, aiding and abetting environmental crimes are also punishable as criminal offenses, writes CNN Greece.

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