Environmental crime worth $10 billion per year
October 13, 2008
Environmental crime is generating $10 billion a year in revenue for gangsters and criminal syndicates reports the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in a paper released today.
The assessment cites the wildlife trafficking, smuggling of ozone-depleting compounds and global-warming chemicals, the illicit trade in hazardous waste, and illegal fishing and logging.
“Environmental crime is often perceived as ‘victimless’, yet in reality it affects all of us,” says EIA. “These crimes lead to deforestation and habitat destruction, depriving communities of their livelihoods; cause ecological problems such as flooding; foster corruption and bad governance; and contribute to climate change, and at the same time generate tens of billions of dollars in profits for criminal enterprises.”
EIA says that while environmental crime has wide-ranging impacts, it is not treated as seriously as the drugs or weapons trade. The report calls calls on governments and international agencies to “recognize environmental-crime as a serious time-critical problem, and work together to mount a ‘substantial, committed and sustained global response'”.
“At a time when climate change and environmental sustainability are such high priorities, it is shocking to think that there are criminals profiting from the destruction of our planet,” said Antonio Mario Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “This is not a victimless crime. On the contrary. Since we share one planet, damage to the environment anywhere in the world hurts us all”.
Environmental Crime – a threat to our future PDF File [1.25 MB]