By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The central government is creating a plan so
that interested citizens can take to the
fields, forests and mangroves to enforce
The positions are described as ad honorem,
which basically means there is no money
The private inspectors will work under local
natural resource protection committees,
according to a decree issued Monday in Nicoya
by President Luis Guillermo Solís. Casa
Presidencial pointed out that the Ministerio
de Ambiente y Energía has 11 Áreas de
Conservación that are supposed to oversee a
number of protected areas.
There are 26 national parks, among 160
protected areas. There also are forest
reserves, biological reserves, national
monuments, mangroves and other protected
The maritime zone was not specifically
mentioned Monday, but these areas along the
coast also would seem to be included in the
mandate for private inspectors.
The government promised to outline the selection
process for environmental inspectors
within six months and to set up a system
of training in one year.
presented the plan at a cabinet meeting
Monday morning in the community of
Nicoya at a celebration of the 192nd
anniversary of the Anexión del
Partido de Nicoya.
The environmental ministry
always has complained of limited
resources and the lack
displays the new decree.
The job of citizen inspectors might not be as
easy as it first appears. Hunters sometimes
fire on the current environmental agents.
There also is a lot of money to be gained by
cutting trees illegally, and inspectors who
stumble on such activities might be in danger. Police
officer are the primary control on the
movement of illegal lumber.
Meanwhile along the beaches and the protected
maritime zone, corruption is rampant in some
municipalities where building projects take
place that clearly are in violation of the
In some areas there are citizens who already
have shouldered the responsibility of
defending the environmental laws and the
Frequently their complaints are overlooked in
favor of commercial ventures.