Illegal tree felling: how to report and what is the responsibility? Part II

19.05.2020

WHERE TO CONTACT IN CASE OF SUSPICION ON ILLEGAL FELLING?

If you suspect anyone of illegal tree cutting you can report the incident to the local police inspector or dial 102. Officers must register the incident and convey information to the State Ecology Committee bodies.

The second option is to directly contact to helpline of the State Ecology Committee (71) 236-26-66 or (71) 207-11-07.  Full contact list of the Committee bodies is posted on the website www.uznature.uz (https://bit.ly/3csB4uY). These phone numbers are also can be found in any help desk.

Furthermore, you can report to special Telegram bot of the Tashkent branch of the State Ecology Committee – “EcoControl”. There is “Inform about violation” section in the main menu. Submit full information about the place of incident, model and plate numbers of employed vehicles, if necessary attach photos.

Expert personnel of the State Ecology Committee immediately arrive at site. They determine whether tree felling activities are legal, prevent possible violations and bring perpetrators to justice.

WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS NO RESPONSE?

In rare cases none of the mentioned above options may not work due to late time, busy telephone lines, absence of personnel at workplace, etc. In such cases it is better:

– to call duty officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Prosecutor-General’s Office. They will guide responsible agencies to take urgent actions on your signal;

– to post publications in social networks. Decree of the President of Uzbekistan of August 15, 2018 demands to respond promptly to messages and complaints on illegal tree felling in social networks;

– to inform domestic mass media and eco-websites, including the website of the State Ecology Committee and its official page on Facebook.

WHAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY?

For the destruction of greeneries following penalties are set:

– administrative – fine up to 4,5 million sums;

– criminal – fine up to 22 million sums, or imprisonment up to three years if major damage was caused.

Apart from that, cut down trees and tools will be confiscated. Perpetrators also have to compensate for the damage caused to nature and environment. Amount of the compensation is serious, and in some cases can reach billions of sums.

IS DESTRUCTION OF TREES EVERYONE’S BUSINESS?

All citizens have the right to an environment favorable for life and health. That’s why any case of damaging trees should concern each and every one of us.

There is a special law in Uzbekistan “On ecological control”. It determines rights of citizens on ecological control, including the right:

– to monitor compliance with the ecological legislation;

– to obtain the necessary information;

– to lodge complaints about ongoing violations.

FACTS FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES

Each city and district in the USA has a local Tree Ordinance. It protects trees in the public right of way and those on private property as they relate to development. Services of arborists, or certified experts on tree services are developed.

In Great Britain person who illegally cut a tree is obliged to plant saplings and take a good care after them for duration of 10 years. And the selling of illegally cut wood will result unlimited fine and term of imprisonment.

In Germany cutting a tree is a long bureaucratic process. Its violation causes fine up to 50 000 Euro. Felling trees is banned from March to October as in this way a legislator protects nesting birds.

In Paris green areas take only 9,5% of the city. This is the lowest rate among large European cities. Situation is worse in other parts of France. As a result, 1 500 French citizens died from heatstroke in the summer of 2019. In the meantime, the French are thinking about the greening of their cities. One striking example is “2050-Vision of Paris” project by environmental architect Vincent Callebaut (depicted on photo).

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The Constitution of our country states that citizens must respect the environment. Hence, reacting to facts of greeneries destruction to some extent is a Constitutional duty. Can we provide our children and grandchildren with ecologically clean future? This depends on each and every one of us.

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