The Green-Father, eh?

August 26, 2008 at 8:46 am 1 comment

As the currents towards going green becomes increasingly stronger, everyone seems to be riding the wave… including criminals. In a report released this week by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), organized crime in Canada is turning to environmental crime as an increasingly lucrative way to raise money.

The annual survey of organized crime indicates the mob is beginning to use such markets to complement traditional revenue sources, such as narcotics. Organized crime networks have developed underground markets for everything from electronic waste to scarce natural resources.

“Criminal networks can profit by collecting e-waste in developed countries such as Canada and selling it to ‘recyclers’ in developing nations,” the service reports. “This practice is a violation of both Canadian and international law.”

Though the CISC report does not put a dollar figure on illegal trafficking of electronic goods, it warns such activity is on the rise and will peak in the next year as millions of televisions in North America become obsolete due to digital broadcasting becoming the defacto standard.

“One of the reasons organized crime has been as successful as it is, is that they’re (leaders are) very adaptable and it’s not like they’ve given up any of their traditional markets,” said RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, who chairs the intelligence service. “If it wasn’t lucrative, organized crime groups wouldn’t be involved in it.”

A United Nations environment program estimates 20 million to 50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide every year.

But the environmental threat represented by organized crime also extends to the exploitation of natural resources. CISC notes that criminal networks have also taken up illegal poaching and resource exploitation.

Canadian forests are vulnerable to illegal harvesting due to their relative abundance, isolation, and the large number of logging access roads. Canada’s vast wilderness is an easy target in the hunt for black market prices on rare animals. According the the UN, illegal trade in wildlife can be as profitable as dealing in narcotics.

By briansrapier

[via Treehugger via The Star]

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Entry filed under: Environment, Information Technology, Informational, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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