Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Green Gendarmes

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Green Gendarmes

Article excerpt

IN France the gendarmerie is going green. In October 1992, Captain Emmanuel Bartier was appointed chief of a new environmental section. He claims, however, that there is nothing new about his mission, pointing out that "The gendarmerie Policed nature in the Countryside as early as 1903." Certainly the gendarmerie--a military body--has always been more firmly established in the countryside than in the towns. Although 80 per cent of its environmental work is preventive, the number of prosecutions has also considerably increased. Whereas 30,000 offences involving a fine and 2,800 crimes punishable by prison and/or a fine were recorded in 1980, the figures had risen to 62,000 and 5,500 respectively by 1992. In 1987 the gendarmerie distributed a memorandum on nature and the environment to its staff of 90,000. This 700-page "green book" covers such subjects as air and water pollution, nuclear energy, control of chemicals, waste, poaching of plant and animal life and the protection of parks, and explains what action should be taken in each case. …

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