After a wave of vegetation fires across the country, the Romanian Government have passed an emergency ordinance, to increase the value of fines for the burning or burying of waste.
Minister of Environment, Water and Forests, Tánczos Barna, commented on the decision by saying, “Every time, since starting my mandate, I supported the need for harsher punishment for the illegal, improper waste management. Burning and burying impact us all, it damages the air, and it damages underground waters almost irreversibly; this is why, also at Parliamentary hearings, I supported every time the need for a fast decision in this respect. We decided on an emergency ordinance because we could not wait any longer.”
According to the decision, crimes can be punished with a prison sentence, ranging between 3 – 5 years, as well as increased fines.
Fines for the dumping of waste now range from 10,000 lei to 20,000 lei for individuals and 50,000 lei to 70,000 lei for companies and legal entities. As for the burning of waste, fines for individuals start at 7,000 lei up to 15,000 and 50,000 lei to 100,000 lei for legal entities.
The Government hopes that these new fines will help tackle issues such as vegetation fires, which at one point reached 7,000 simultaneous fires and help to increase air quality, which has been getting lower and lower over the recent years.
Romania currently ranks 136/180 in terms of air quality, with certain areas of Cluj-Napoca being considered as “Hazerdous”. One of the WHO’s health risk warnings for people travelling to Romania is the air pollution, where they mention, “In accordance with the World Health Organization’s guidelines, the air quality in Romania is considered moderately unsafe. The most recent data indicates the country’s annual mean concentration of PM2.5 is 15 µg/m3 which exceeds the recommended maximum of 10 µg/m3.”
At the time of writing, PM2.5 concentration in Romania air is currently 3.1 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value and Cluj-Napoca ranks as second-worst in the country with a US AQI value of 82 as recorded on IQAir, which is 3.7 times above the guideline value.
Air Quality Monitoring Stations
Updated: April 7 2022, 16:00