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Wildfires in Siberia, Far East inflict $46 mln damage — chief prosecutor

August 05, 14:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
'People died in the fire-fighting effort and huge damage was done to the environment and it will take many years for nature to recover," Russia’s chief prosecutor said
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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, August 5. /TASS/. Forest fires in Russia’s Asian part have destroyed 1 million hectares this year, inflicting damage worth 3 billion rubles ($46 million), Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika said on Friday.

Russia’s chief prosecutor spoke at a meeting held in Ulan-Ude in East Siberia on the observance of law and additional measures to strengthen prosecutor’s supervision in forest management and environmental protection in the Urals, the Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts, spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Office Alexander Kurennoi said.

"Many problems remain in the forest sphere. First of all, they are linked with forest fires," Chaika said.

"Almost a million hectares of commercial timber were again destroyed in the first half of the year alone and from the economic viewpoint the budget fell short of 3 billion rubles. Moreover, people died in the fire-fighting effort and huge damage was done to the environment and it will take many years for nature to recover," Russia’s chief prosecutor said.

The territories in the Urals, the Siberian and the Far Eastern Federal Districts "are, without any exaggeration, a storeroom of natural resources and the rational use and protection of natural riches become especially important amid their intensive development," the prosecutor-general said.

Meanwhile, the results of prosecutor’s supervision show that measures taken by the bodies of power, local self-government administrations and controlling departments to expose and counter offences do not always prove to be effective, Chaika said.

"The regulation of legal relations in the sphere of environmental protection is not exercised properly. In particular, the Natural Resources Ministry has failed to adopt more than 40 relevant regulatory acts and methodologies to date," the prosecutor-general said.

The Natural Resources Ministry has also failed to fully ensure coordination and control over the work of its subordinate Federal Agency for Forestry and Water Resources and Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Management, Chaika said.

Many regions are confronted with an acute problem of the disposal of domestic waste and air pollution. Special concern is caused by the anthropogenic impact on Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater body, which affects its flora and fauna and the quality of water, the prosecutor-general said.

Forest protection controlling authorities are also falling short of their targets as they are failing to timely counter violations of the rules of timber procurement and sanitary safety, the prosecutor-general said.

Critical remarks can also be addressed to the work of other law-enforcement agencies for countering crimes in the sphere of environmental protection, Chaika said.

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