OPINION

First step in protecting nature

In order to protect the country’s forests, the government has to first start by clearly defining them. The lack of any clear definition of forest areas has over the previous years opened the floodgates to a series of illegal transactions and lengthy legal battles, as well as blackmail. The delineation and charting of forestland, which was announced yesterday by newly installed Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Tina Birbili, is a step in the right direction – provided, of course, that the Socialist administration translates the words it presented in the bill into real action. We must also welcome the fact that the draft law unveiled yesterday foresees the establishment of a special agency to be assigned the task of demolishing structures that have been illegally built on forestland. Only when state inspectors and prospective landowners have precise knowledge of what constitutes forestland and what can be bought, sold and built on, will we finally be in the position to adequately safeguard the country’s natural wealth.