Environmental crime on the rise – UNEP

AS Nigeria joins the rest of the
world to mark the 2016 World
Environment Day, WED, Civil
Society Organisations, CSOs, in
the country have urged Nigerians
to adopt good sanitation habit and
personal hygiene practice on daily
basis.
The Resources Conservation
Development Initiative, RCDI, in
partnership with National Youth
Service Corp, NYSC, Connected
Development, CODE, and the
New Nigeria Initiative, NNI,
made the appeal at the exercise
tagged ‘Clean Up Abuja,’ which
demonstrated the essence of clean
environment through a sanitation
exercise.
The coordinator, RCDI, Afoke
Igwe said the exercise was to raise
awareness and consciousness of
Nigerians on healthy and clean
environment as part of health
needs.
Igwe further explained that
the environment surpassed
everybody living in it.
He said: “If the environment is
not clean, we are going to have
series of diseases.
“We are hopeful the members
of the public will take this home
and begin to live a life that is
environmental friendly as much
as possible.”
Also speaking,the founder, New
Nigeria Initiative, NNI, Tracy
Okoro maintained that the exercise
had to be part of the culture of the
people for clean environment and
prevention to contact diseases.
Okoro stated that the CSOs
embarking on the sanitation
exercise symbolised a relaunch
of environmental health
consciousness and culture in the
country, and also to show the level
of environmental degradation by
indiscriminate disposal of solid
and liquid wastes.
According to her, the
environment has been degraded
by waste water disposed, and
therefore causes air pollution and
the inability to have a recycling
culture are what the group intends
to bring to the mind of people.
In his own assertion, the cofounder
and chief executive of
CODE, Hamzat Lawal said there
was need to collaborate with the
government and to see how people
could be empowered to take
actions over their environment.
“For us in CODE, we have been
taken actions before now, but for
the World Environment Day it is
a an opportunity for our renewed
commitment where we can add
more voices to our campaign and
ensure moving forward on how
we can coordinate and collaborate
better in this kind of clean ups and
beyond the clean up,” he said.
Increase in environmental
crime
Meanwhile, the value of
environmental crime put at 26
percent is larger than previous
estimates of $91-258 billion
today compared to $70-213
billion in 2014, according to a
rapid response report published
yesterday by the United Nations
Environment Programme, UNEP,
and INTERPOL.
The Rise of Environmental
Crime released on the eve of
World Environment Day, WED,
finds that weak laws and poorly
funded security forces are
enabling international criminal
networks and armed rebels to
profit from a trade that fuels
conflicts, devastates ecosystems
and is threatening species with
extinction.
UNEP executive director,
Achim Steiner said, “Interpol
and UNEP have joined forces to
bring to the attention of the world
the sheer scale of environmental
crime. The vast sums of money
generated from these crimes
keep sophisticated international
criminal gangs in business, and
fuel insecurity around the world.
“The result is not only
devastating to the environment
and local economies, but to all
those who are menaced by these
criminal enterprises. The world
needs to come together now to take
strong national and international
action to bring environmental
crime to an end.”
Environmental crime dwarfs
the illegal trade in small arms,
which is valued at about $3 billion.
It is the world’s fourth largest
criminal enterprise after drug
smuggling, counterfeiting and
human trafficking. The amount of
money lost due to environmental
crime is 10,000 times greater
than the amount of money spent
by international agencies on
combating it – just $20-30 million.
INTERPOL secretary general,
Jürgen Stock said, “Environmental
crime is growing at an alarming
pace. The complexity of this type
of criminality requires a multisector
response underpinned
by collaboration across borders.
Through its global policing
capabilities, INTERPOL is
resolutely committed to working
with its member countries to
combat the organised crime
networks active in environmental
crime.”
The report recommends strong
action, legislation and sanctions
at the national and international
level, including measures targeted
at disrupting overseas tax havens;
an increase in financial support
commensurate with the serious
threat that environmental crime
poses to sustainable development;
and economic incentives and
alternative livelihoods for those at
the bottom of the environmental
crime chain.
The last decade has seen
environmental crime rise by at
least 5-7 percent per year. This
means that environmental crime
– which includes the illegal trade
in wildlife, corporate crime in
the forestry sector, the illegal
exploitation and sale of gold and
other minerals, illegal fisheries,
the trafficking of hazardous
waste and carbon credit fraud – is
growing two to three times faster
than global GDP.


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