By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The number of wildfires and cases of illegal logging in the Kingdom’s forests has dropped this summer, the Ministry of Environment said on Thursday.

“The number of wildfires dropped because the ministries of environment and agriculture and the Rangers intensified monitoring in heavily wooded areas,” Ministry of Environment Spokesperson Isa Shboul told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

He added that illegal logging, which is the main threat jeopardising Jordan’s shrinking forests along with wildfires, has also notably declined.

Under environmental regulations, those who cut down forest trees without a licence face a three-month prison term, and a JD100 fine for each tree chopped down on state-owned land and JD50 for one on private land. In addition, their equipment is confiscated.

On other violations, Shboul said 14 factories, farms and vocational workshops were shut down in August for breaching health and environment laws.

The ministry issued 2,458 tickets and warnings last month to industries, vocational workshops, farms, quarries and brick factories for polluting the environment, he explained.

“Scores of industries, workshops, farms, quarries, brick factories, and cattle and poultry farms also received final warnings last month and will be shut down if they don’t rectify their infringements,” Shboul added.

A total of 1,190 industries and cattle and poultry farms received tickets for failing to adhere to health and environment regulations, disposing of wastewater into nearby valleys, slaughtering cattle at the farms without authorities’ supervision and providing public health requirements, he said.

“In addition, 1,052 factories, workshops and shops were issued tickets for operating without a licence, dumping waste at undesignated sites and raising livestock in residential areas,” Shboul noted.

The ministry and the Rangers also issued tickets to 216 vehicles for emitting excessive amounts of fumes and polluting the air, the environment official underscored.

Ministry regulations stipulate that motorists found driving vehicles that emit excessive amounts of exhaust fumes will have their driving licences revoked. Authorities are also obliged to seize the vehicle and fine the motorist JD30-JD60.

“The goal is to improve the country’s environment and health conditions by monitoring industries’ adherence to our laws and regulations, particularly those which were found operating without obtaining a licence from the concerned authorities,” Shboul said.