Taking measures after the fires

Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas’s memo to all forest rangers yesterday calling on them to be on the lookout for any illegal building activity and instructing them to knock down any such structures sounded an optimistic note. Sure, the damage has been done: Tens of thousands of hectares of forestland have been burned to the ground and construction demolition is not going to bring them back. However, such mobilization can prevent future catastrophes and here lies the responsibility of the state: It must implement the law and be on the alert for any wrongdoing. More than 300,000 illegal buildings still await inspection and punishment. We know that in order to crack down on law-breaking and environmental destruction, we need steady political will. Even such after-the-event measures are needed to avoid the worse. It’s never too late.