No lockdowns for eco-mafias, 4 eco-crimes per hour in 2020

Ecomafia Report 2021, in Italy there are 34,867 environmental crimes ascertained, + 0.6% compared to 2019. The number of people reported, the precautionary custody orders carried out, the seizures carried out, but the total number of checks decreases

In 2020, the year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the eco-mafias have experienced no lockdowns or pauses, and have not spared the environment. In Italy, 34,867 environmental crimes are ascertained (+ 0.6% compared to 2019), at an average of over 95 crimes per day, 4 every hour. The number of people reported increased (33,620, + 12% compared to 2019), the custody orders executed (329, + 14.2%), the seizures carried out (11,427, + 25.4%), but the total number of controls, which went from 1,694,093 in 2019 to 1,415,907 in 2020, with a decrease of 17% compared to 2019. This is what emerges from the Legambiente 2021 Ecomafia Report created with the support of Cobat and Novamont, published by Edizioni Ambiente.

Ecoreati, Lazio beats Calabria, fourth after Campania, Sicily, Puglia

The incidence of environmental crimes ascertained in the four regions with traditional mafia presence (i.e. Sicily, Campania, Puglia and Calabria) is still high, exactly 16,262, 46.6% of the national total, with 134 arrests, in 2019 there were 86. In the regional classification of environmental crimes, Campania, Sicily, Puglia are the most affected regions. But Lazio is in fourth place this year with 3,082 crimes, with an increase of 14.5% on 2019, thus surpassing Calabria. Lombardy remains the region with the highest number of arrests. The number of municipalities commissioned for ecomafia to date is also worrying, as many as 32, of which 11 were dissolved in the first nine months of 2021.

Attack on the environment

In 2020 in Italy it is the red code for woods and fauna. There are 4,233 crimes related to forest fires (+ 8.1% compared to 2019), 8,193 crimes against animals, just under one every hour. Alone, crimes against fauna represent 23.5% of total environmental crimes, with 6,792 people reported, over 18 per day, 5,327 kidnappings made and 33 arrests. These numbers are certainly inadequate compared to reality, both due to the scarcity of effective controls (mainly in internal and natural areas) and, above all, to the poor effectiveness of the sanctioning system, still lacking in crimes adequate to the gravity of the facts.

Waste, in 2020 illegal turnover of 10.4 billion

The most significant decrease, probably attributable to the periods of closure of many production activities during lockdowns, is that relating to the waste cycle, which in terms of ascertained offenses records a -12.7% compared to 2019, but more arrests (+15 ,2%). But the investigations carried out against organized waste trafficking (the most serious ones, sanctioned pursuant to article 452-quaterdecies of the Criminal Code) have not suffered declines: they were 27 in 2020, an increase compared to 2019, to which they must add another 23 registered by Legambiente from 1 January to 15 September this year. Data that are also reflected in the total value of illegal turnover, estimated by Legambiente in 2020 at 10.4 billion euros, while the investment in risky investments in the four regions with a traditional mafia presence increases, from tenders to urban waste management, which has reached 11.2 billion euros.

Illegal concrete, slight decline in crimes and stake killing

Crimes also decreased slightly in the cement cycle (-0.8%), with an increase, however, in the number of people reported (13,083, with a + 23.1% compared to 2019). Finally, the demolition of building abuses is at stake: from 2004 to 2021 57,250 demolition orders were issued, but only 32.9% were carried out, with significant differences between North and South. Puglia has the negative record with the 4%.

Archeomafie, in Lazio the greatest number of thefts

As regards the so-called ‘archeomafias’, in 2020 checks will increase (11,801, an average of 32 per day, with a growth of 32% compared to the previous year) and thefts (-18%) decrease, people reported and arrests. Lazio, with 14.7% of the national total, is the region with the highest number of thefts, followed by Puglia (11.6%), Tuscany (10.6%) and Campania, with 9%.

Agromafia and capolarato

In a year characterized by a decrease in controls (-10.8%), which, given the type of activities to be carried out in the field, certainly had an impact on the reduction of crimes and administrative offenses (-37%), the first ranking for the number of ascertained infringements relating to imports of food products, as many as 8,786, followed by that on fish products in general (6,844 crimes committed), which is also the one where the greatest number of checks were carried out, with over 106 thousand inspections. Finally, in 2020, 293 criminal offenses were ascertained, that is 0.80 per day, including Saturdays and Sundays, 254 criminal and administrative complaints presented and 43 arrests.

In 2020, according to data from the Assobioplastica Observatory, a quarter of the plastic bags consumed in Italy are still not up to standard. In the same year, despite the restrictions due to Covid-19 and the markets for most of the time closed or downsized, more than 15 tons of shopping bags produced with materials that do not meet the legal requirements ended up under seizure.

Illegal F-gas trade

Chapter F-gas, ie the most widely used refrigerant gases on the market, not dangerous for ozone like CFC gases, which have been banned for some time, but still harmful to their greenhouse effect. Only in the context of two operations, both carried out in February 2021 by the Customs and Monopolies Agency, the first in Varese, the second in Milan, over 14.5 tons of F-gas from Turkey were intercepted but made in China. According to investigators, Italy is at the center of the illegal flows of refrigerant gases introduced into Europe, coming mainly from the corridors of the East.

Edition dedicated to those who lost their lives in defending the environment

According to data from Global Witness, in 2020, in a world almost paralyzed by the pandemic, 227 people were killed, from Colombia to the Philippines, from Brazil to the Democratic Republic of Congo, due to their commitment to defending nature, against deforestation. , mining activities and the wild exploitation of water resources. There have never been so many since 2012. This Ecomafia 2021 report is dedicated to them.