Lithuania Drastically Increased Fines for Environmental Pollution
The Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) has significantly increased fines for environmental pollution. Starting from January next year, penalties for illegal waste disposal will more than double for companies, and residents will also face stricter sanctions.
Seventy-three Seimas members voted in favor of these amendments to the Environmental Protection Law, while eight opposed, and 34 abstained. Changes to the Administrative Offenses Code received approval from 78 members, with one against and 38 abstaining.
Residents will now be subject to administrative liability for disposing of up to 15 cubic meters of non-hazardous waste or up to 7 cubic meters of hazardous waste. Crossing these limits will result in criminal liability.
Previously, the same fines applied for dumping 5 cubic meters of waste and above.
For companies engaged in illegal waste disposal, fines could reach up to 84,000 euros. The fine amounts are linked to the quantity of pollutants emitted: for 5-15 cubic meters (previously 5-50 cubic meters) of non-hazardous waste, the fine ranges from 3,900 to 8,400 euros (previously 1,400 to 3,000 euros). Repeat offenses could incur fines between 4,800 and 11,000 euros (previously 1,700 to 4,000 euros). For dumping 5-7 cubic meters (previously 5-50 cubic meters) of hazardous waste, the fine is set between 22,000 and 39,000 euros (previously 8,000 to 14,000 euros), with a repeat offense carrying a penalty of 39,000 to 84,000 euros (previously 14,000 to 30,000 euros).
During discussions in September, Deputy Minister of Environment Raminta Radavičienė emphasized the necessity of these changes, stating that the current fines do not sufficiently deter violations.
Mantė Ramanauskienė, Head of the Activity Organization Division at the Environmental Protection Department, noted that this year, 407 cases of littering were identified with the implementation of the “Clean Lithuania” tool, allowing residents to report litter more quickly and accurately. Additionally, 800 reports of improper waste management were received this year, leading to the identification of 236 illegal cases and the confiscation of 10 vehicles.