Romanian environment officials were attacked with pitchforks when they tried to stop the illegal burning of waste near the capital, the environment ministry said.
Two people were detained in the village of Sinteşti, south of Bucharest during a raid. Police, gendarmes and the National Environment Guard took part in the action late Saturday, the ministry said on Facebook. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
”During the intervention, environment officials were attacked with pitchforks and other objects by people caught illegally burning waste. The swift intervention … ended the violent outburst and the perpetrators were immobilized and taken into custody,” the statement said.
The Environment Guard has been monitoring the area in recent days after reports of a number of fires and black smoke.
Officials saw old tires, electric cables and other kinds of waste being burned. The air was full of thick plumes of acrid smoke.
Three fire engines were needed to put out the fires,
„For these kind of deliberate acts, there should be no clemency. If found guilty, the people detained face fines or even prison sentences.”
The Environment Guard vowed to crack down on other cases of illegally burning waste.
“We will continue this action every evening, every weekend until it is clearly understood that we don’t play with people’s health.”
“We thank everyone who takes risks every day, fighting the Mafia of illegal waste burning,” the acting Environment Minister Tánczos Barna said.
Pointing out the fires, former Environment Guard chief Octavian Berceanu claimed that “illegal activity has become normal again.”