The Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry approved, with amendments, a draft amendment to the law that increases penalties for offenses and crimes against the environment. The financial penalties in the draft range from PLN 10,000. up to 10 million PLN.
On Wednesday, the Environment Committee proposed amendments to the draft amendment to the law increasing penalties for offenses and crimes against the environment. Among the amendments adopted were editorial and clarifying changes tabled by parliamentary legislators.
Punishments should not only be severe, but also swift
All amendments tabled by PiS MP Anna Paluch were also approved. The Commissioner has tabled a total of six amendments, including one on the possibility of introducing state surveillance in forest areas and an amendment to remove interpretive doubts regarding the Environmental Inspectorate, which according to the amendment will be able to impose fines through a criminal mandate during the activities performed.
As Paluch explained, “the point is to make the penalties for polluting the environment not only severe, but swift”.
Where do the proceeds of the fines go?
During the committee meeting, Deputy Climate Minister Jacek Ozdoba approved all amendments proposed by MP Paluch. On the other hand, he opposed Bogusław Sonik (KO) amendment to halve sanctions between the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the Fund’s provincial units.
Decoration also disagreed with parliamentary legislators’ comments about, among other things, extending the 14-day vacatio legis envisaged in the project. They explained that an extension would be desirable due to the introduction of changes to the criminal law provisions.
From 10 thousand. PLN to PLN 10 million
As stated in the draft notes, the cost of disposing of abandoned waste is a serious problem for the state budget and local authorities, often amounting to several tens of millions of zlotys. Therefore, if the perpetrator is convicted of an intentional crime against the environment, the court will have to order him an exemption of 10,000 PLN. PLN to PLN 10 million. If the violation was committed unintentionally, the deductible will be charged optionally.
It was written that the money will go to the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. They will not only be used to eliminate the effects of criminal activities, but will also be used in various environmental programs aimed, among other things, at improving air and water quality in Poland.
The penalty of imprisonment from 6 months to 8 years
The project offers, among other things, Increasing the penalty for pollution of water, air or the earth’s surface with a substance or ionizing radiation, if this could pose a threat to human life or health or a significant reduction in the quality of water, air or the earth’s surface or damage to the plant or animal world – to a significant extent. In that case you risk a prison sentence of 6 months to 8 years.
Illegal storage, disposal, processing, recovery, disposal and transportation of waste
According to the draft, higher penalties will also be imposed, including for illegal storage, disposal, processing, recovery, neutralization and transport of wastes that could endanger the life or health of people or reduce the quality of water, air, land area or cause destruction in the plant or animal world. It carries a prison sentence of one to ten years. It has been added that the fine for importing or transporting hazardous waste from abroad without the required notification or permit or in violation of the conditions thereof will also be increased. It carries a prison sentence of 2 to 12 years.
Higher penalties for litter in public places
The draft also increases the minimum and maximum fines for litter in public places. In addition, the maximum fine for removing vegetation by burning farmland, railway yards, roadsides, reeds or rushes is increased to PLN 30,000. zloty.
The liability condition of collective bodies (eg companies) is abolished with regard to the previous and valid conviction of a natural person for an offense against the environment. Currently, this crime must first be legally sentenced to a natural person (for example, the director of the company), so that the company itself is also responsible for the destruction of the environment.