Francisco Dominguez Brito, the Dominican Minister of the Environment who up until recently served as the country's top prosecutor, announced that charcoal smugglers would be treated with the same severity as cocaine traffickers.
|Has declared war on charcoal smugglers. MetroRD|
Mr. Dominguez Brito declared that environmental authorities would implement a strict tracking system, with charcoal bags no longer permitted to be shipped around the island without identification tags.
The Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with deforested Haiti, provides a large quantity of the clandestine charcoal used to power the kitchens of countless Haitian citizens. The collapse of Haiti as a functional state over a decade ago has sped up the damage on the Dominican side, with some fearing that not taking a harsh line could lead the full-blown ecological suicide of the entire island.
The movement of charcoal around the island will now be regulated as strongly as biological weapons, with a government-approved company filing a route report before anything gets on a truck. These trucks will only be allowed to move around the island during daylight hours; anyone caught with charcoal at night will be breaking the law.
Though the new measures will likely make charcoal more expensive, Dominican netizens have thus far decried them as "toothless." Top commenters have asked for charcoal smugglers to be "carbonized" as an example to any who would think of getting into the business.