Despite the fact that estimates show that crimes against the environment provide criminals with as much as $213 billion every year, officials are saying that the problem is not getting enough attention. Indeed, practices of deforestation, wildlife trafficking and toxic waste dumping are causing tremendous amounts of damage, but very little is being done to combat the issue.

International experts are currently meeting in France for discussions regarding crimes against the environment. The meetings will cover a time period of three days, and they come ahead of a major United Nations climate summit in Paris which will take place at the end of this month.

Studies show that environmental crimes represent the fourth largest method of money making for criminal organizations, behind only drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking. Estimates show that environmental crimes generates somewhere between $70 billion and $213 billion every year for criminals.

Despite the scope of the issue, the upcoming climate summit barely plans to discuss the problem. The climate summit is being called COP 21.

Some leaders are worried about the lack of interest in crimes against the environment. The project leader for Interpol’s Environmental Crime Program Cees Van Duijn is one person who has spoken out about the problem. According to Duijn, stronger political support is needed to address these crimes. He says that everyone is a victim of environmental crimes.

It is difficult to say whether or not the scope of environmental crimes is increasing, but with natural resources like fossil fuels becoming less readily available, the value of these resources will continue to increase. This will keep attracting criminal organizations.

Indeed, the Italian Mafia has already been known to get involved in environmental crimes. Terrorist groups have also been participating in such crimes. In Africa, rebel groups kill elephants for their precious ivory tusks which fetch a pretty price on the Black Market. They have also been committing acts of illegal fishing.

So unless groups start stepping up their efforts to protect the environment from destruction, criminals will undoubtedly continue to ruin the only natural resources we have. The planet is on a path to destruction, and we can only save it if we start paying the attention the matter deserves.

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