We are increasingly paying more attention to the damaging impact that environmental crime has on the environment and ecosystems, peace, security and development. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 10 – 13.
Ever thought about the security risks associated with the illegal dumping of medical waste on dump sites in South Africa? We tell you more about prosecution and minimising the risk of cross-contamination. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 34-35.
Did you know that there was a link between pollution and crime? We didn’t, until we researched the topic and found that exposure to toxic substances (including lead) was higher among violent criminals. Interesting! Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 31 – 33.
Following a spate of criminal incidents around the OR Tambo International Airport, the Minister of Police unveiled the integrated multi-disciplinary tactical security plan for this national key point. Read the article in Servamus: September 2017 from pp 50-51.
Article by Kotie Geldenhuys;
Photos by Kotie Geldenhuys, Frans van der Merwe and SanParks
In June 2017, two Chinese nationals were removed from an Istanbul-bound plane just before take-off at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng. This was after SARS customs officials discovered ten rhino horns in their luggage. Both passengers were arrested by the police. Only three days earlier, two separate seizures of illegal rhino horn at Hong Kong International Airport were also reported. In one case, a 46-year-old male passenger was arrested after he arrived on a flight from OR Tambo International. Customs agents found 2.5 kg of rhino horn wrapped in tin foil and placed inside a food package in his check-in luggage. In a separate incident on the following day, Hong Kong customs officers made a bigger bust when they seized another 10.5 kg of suspected rhino horns. They intercepted a 23-year-old male passenger who had arrived in Hong Kong from Jakarta, Indonesia. They estimated street value of that stash was just over R3.4 million. The common thread in all three cases was that Hong Kong was the ultimate destination (Bloch, 2017a and 2017b).
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Elephants are hunted for their ivory and rhinos for their horns. Pangolins, lions and leopards are killed for the muti trade. Cycads are removed from the veld and replanted in the gardens of wealthy home owners. Trees are cut down and fish sources are exploited. All over the world environmental crime is a serious problem which, in the past, seldom got the attention it deserves.
Fortunately, environmental crime has in recent years been receiving global attention due to its serious and damaging impact on the environment and ecosystems, as well as on peace, security and development. Environmental crimes, including the illegal mining of gold, diamonds, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and trafficking in hazardous waste also undermine legal commerce and rob developing countries of an estimated $91 to $259 billion every year. Tax revenue from these activities could have been used to build schools, invest in infrastructure, provide health care and develop business (Nelleman et al, 2016).
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos by Kotie Geldenhuys; Frans van der Merwe and SanParks
It is a hot, peaceful summer's day in Africa. A herd of elephants is peacefully feeding on small bushes and trees on one of the plains while the persistent and deafening drone of the cicadas pulses through the air. With their ears flapping to keep them cool, the elephants slowly move through the savanna. Baby elephants stay close to their mothers while the matriarch disciplines the young bulls who explore the area. Then, suddenly, the peace is disturbed by tremendous noise - rattling firearms and screaming hunters who appear from out of nowhere and kill two of these jumbos for their tusks, which will bring great monetary reward.
- A death sentence
Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
When we throw something into the garbage bin, we seldom think about its destination. All the discarded plastic bags, broken cellphones and televisions, used batteries and bulbs, glass bottles and old stoves contribute in some way to environmental pollution. When broken down, however, this waste is potentially hazardous since harmful toxins are released into the air and surrounding soil and ground water.
Waste covers a wide spectrum of discarded materials including municipal waste, electrical and electronic waste; industrial and agricultural waste; and new types of waste such as counterfeit pesticides. It includes anything ranging in size and scale from decommissioned ships, oil or liquid waste and millions of cellphones to billions of used car tyres.