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Government introduces new law with major prison sentences for committing so-called 'ecocide': 'It is time to react'

"The world is waking up to the need for this powerful protective law."

Prison sentences for committing so-called ecocide

Photo Credit: iStock

Causing environmental damage is considered a crime in a growing number of countries, and Mexico is one of the latest nations looking to lead the way for this kind of policy. 

According to the Guardian, upgrading environmental damage offenses to the level of "ecocide" would result in these activities being categorized as a crime, with appropriate penalties dished out to match.

Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, and France are among the countries to formally introduce ecocide as a crime, and if the law is passed in Mexico, those found guilty could face up to 15 years in prison. 

As the Guardian reports, Mexico's proposal would criminalize any activity determined to knowingly cause a "substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment."

Congresswoman Barrón Perales of the opposition PRI party said: "It is time to react and point out these failings in our legislation so that [these harmful acts] are punished with the gravity they deserve. Let them not continue to go unpunished."

The move to implement such a law comes at an interesting time in Mexico, with the Maya train project leading to criticism of the government. Plans to construct a railway across the Yucatán peninsula have already led to the destruction of rainforest areas, and the train would disturb land that Indigenous groups call home. 

Meanwhile, according to the Stop Ecocide International group, the Catalan Parliament will bring forward a proposal to make ecocide a crime under the Spanish Penal Code, while Belgium's attempt to do the same has reached a second reading before the Council of Ministers. An ecocide law has also been proposed in the Netherlands. 

It's a huge step in global efforts to increase environmental protection. Actions such as deforestation, water contamination, and irresponsible waste disposal are destroying the natural world and are a significant driver of global heating.  

Measures such as this will hopefully lead to appropriate punishments for organizations and individuals responsible for natural devastation. 

"The fact that ecocide is not even considered a crime today is a painful reminder of our priorities," one Twitter user commented on the Guardian's report. "We must change."

"The world is waking up to the need for this powerful protective law," said another

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