Heavy fines will not prevent violations of environmental law, Tamara Makarova, head of the chair of environmental and agrarian law at the Law Department of Belarusian State University, said at a meeting of the Expert Community project “Environment: Fashion or Need” in BelTA's press center on 18 December.
The meeting touched upon various measures that could help reduce the number of environmental law violations. Most experts opposed the idea of increasing fines because punishments alone will not produce positive results. “Fines are not a panacea,” Tamara Makarova said. She believes that compensatory measures that are so far applied in Belarus in fauna and flora protection should be extended. “I am talking about compensation for the damage to the environment caused by activities permitted by the law. Organizations should carry out preliminary environmental impact assessment and examinations to find out about risks of pollution and compensations they will have to pay despite being law-abiding users of natural resources. We should raise awareness about these matters. Appropriate measures are envisaged in the decree on control (supervisory) activities,” she said.
When speaking about ways to improve the environmental laws, Tamara Makarova spoke against drawing up an environmental code. “It would not work in our situation. It will take a lot of legal work, financial resources, and other efforts to prepare such a comprehensive legal act. Even if the code is adopted, it will take a lot of time for it to start yielding results. We will end up with a great amount of collisions that we do not have now,” she warned. Tamara Makarova proposed solving this issue by giving the law on environmental protection a special legal status, making it a framework law.
Participants of the meeting also noted that the Belarusian society is interested in solving problems regarding environmental pollution. Sociological research show that these problems are important to over 70% of respondents.