"We have collected 400 tonnes of waste in the first three months of the year, and we have paid EUR 32,000 for the disposal of waste. If we didn't have to pick up the garbage and dispose of it, then we could plant at least 300,000 pines. The volume we could plant is at least 100 hectares, so at least 100 football fields of new forest," said Rīga Forests spokeswoman Ieva Bērziņa.
To deal with this epidemic, companies Latvian State Forests and Riga Forests are installing more and more cameras.
“We have dozens of video surveillance cameras. With them, too, we are recording offenses. We are rapidly changing the location of the cameras. We see where people are keener to dump their garbage [..],” Bērziņa said.
The data from cameras are livestreamed so offenses are recorded straight away. The resulting data is stored on servers and then videos with infringers' faces and licence plates are sent to the police.
Sandris Upenieks, the spokesman for Latvia's State Forests, said that such a waste issue should not exist as many municipalities offer to dispose of waste free of charge.
The penalty for littering for natural persons is between €70 and €1,000, for legal persons between €250 and €2,100. Landlords don't always notice or want to clean up contaminated areas. The State Environmental Service asks residents to report illegally discarded waste on the app Vides SOS or by phone 26338800.