Published on Jul 12, 2012 by Mafia groups are making billions from environmental crime, new research has found. Dumping toxic waste, illegal logging and trafficking of endangered species are just some of the many crimes according to a report called ‘Eco-Mafia 2012’ by Legambiente.

Other environmental groups also claim the EU is currently failing to tackle the issue seriously.

Julian Newman, Campaign Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “The problem with these crimes is that they are often seen as low priorities, not given much in the way of resources. If contraband is stopped, it hardly ever leads to prosecution, yet, these are crimes which deserve a strong response from Europe and globally, because the impact of these crimes affect us all.”

In Italy alone the Mafia is said to have earned some 16 billion euros last year through eco-crime. Despite that, some MEPs insist Europe can learn from Italian authorities on how to combat the mobsters.

“We can’t expect to keep uncovering criminality if we don’t use the same methods that proved so successful in Italy: I’m talking about attacking criminals by seizing and confiscating assets,” MEP Sonia Alfano said.

An EU parliament select committee on organised crime said more coordination between law enforcement agencies like Interpol and OLAF is needed to stem the current destructive tide.