Illustration of the SMVA duties, Source: Leiria Municipality

Leiria now has something akin to an environmental police force

Leiria now has something akin to an environmental police force

The new municipal service was launched on Monday, 15 February

The Portuguese Municipality of Leiria unveiled a new service on Monday, 15 February, which will have the task of making sure that environmental guidelines in the city are being adhered to and to prevent related disasters from occurring. The new department is called Municipal Environmental Surveillance Service (SMVA) and although it does not have the prerogatives of a police force body, it will assist the law-and-order authorities in carrying out their duties specifically when it comes to environmental infractions.

SMVA’s duties will be varied and many of them will centre on raising awareness

Naturally, like any new administrative institution, the correct application of rules and regulations will be central to its values but nevertheless, it would be wrong to think of the SMVA as a punishment-meting force. In fact, many of its new competences will be concerned with inspection and protection and raising awareness through organized informational campaigns that will constantly promote sustainability in the urban context.

It will be a new body that will collaborate with existing municipal services, such as police and waste management in order to ensure that the natural resources of the municipality are being used responsibly and/or preserved for future generations.

Among the issues, the new service will deal with are harmful discharges in water sources and soils, hazardous substances, eco points, urban cleaning, pests and diseases, abandoned vehicles and bulky domestic objects.

The Municipality of Leiria also reminded residents that they, too, can be proactive in ensuring that environmental and sustainable order is being properly observed in their city and for that reason, there is a specially dedicated ‘Citizen Alert’ tab on municipal phone app where they can report any environmental events that they have found disconcerting.

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