Criminal responsibility for setting fire to fallen leaves, stubble, etc., will be strengthened in Ukraine provoked the destruction or damage of plant life objects.
The relevant bill No. 7212-1 was approved in the first reading by the Verkhovna Rada, reports Ministry of Environment.
The document will introduce changes to the Criminal and Administrative Codes. In particular, it is proposed to expand the list of actions for which criminal liability will be provided and to strengthen it in the conditions of martial law.
"In conditions of war or a state of emergency, offenders may face imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years – for intentional destruction or damage by fire or other means of forest, green plantations, stubble, meadows, pastures, steppe, wetland or other vegetation, its residues and fallen leaves on lands of any category, if this caused significant damage to the environment," the material says.
In peacetime, these actions will lead to restriction or deprivation of liberty for a period of 2 to 5 years. Imprisonment for a period of 3 to 5 years is provided for the corresponding damage caused in the territories of the nature reserve fund.
"In the conditions of war, our environment suffers significant damage from hostilities and rocket attacks. And we have no right to allow its destruction by irresponsible behavior, by not understanding that primitive burning with dry matter is a great danger. We have repeatedly seen the consequences of such actions in peacetime. Today, this is an additional burden on our environment and additional trouble for rescuers, who save human lives around the clock, clear areas of mines and dismantle rubble, and are also forced to eliminate fires with dry land," commented the head of the Ministry of the Environment, Ruslan Strilets.
Also, the Criminal Code will separately establish responsibility for the destruction or damage to the forest and forest plantations as a result of non-compliance with fire safety rules, if this has caused significant damage to the environment. Punishment will be in the form of correctional labor for a term of up to 2 years or restriction of freedom for a term of 1 to 3 years.
For the same actions within the territories and objects of the nature reserve fund, or if they caused serious consequences for the environment, offenders face imprisonment for a term of 1 to 3 years.
Offenses committed during a state of war or state of emergency, or if they lead to the death of a person, the mass death of animals or the occurrence of other particularly serious consequences, will be punished by imprisonment for a term of 3 to 7 years.
The Ministry of Environment noted that every year a large number of fires occur in natural ecosystems due to the burning of fallen leaves and stubble.
This causes significant damage to the environment:
- pollutes the air and soil with carcinogenic harmful substances;
- takes the lives of animals and destroys their habitat;
- destroys a large number of plant species and soil biodiversity.
Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that in Ukraine during the 4 months of the war, 43% of fires occurred due to the fault of irresponsible Ukrainians who committed 30,205 fires were set.
As EcoPolitic previously reported, a resident of the village of Toykut in the Volyn region was charged with arson, as a result of which the fire destroyed 14 hectares of forest, he faces a prison sentence for a period of 5 to 10 years.