Environment and Nature Protection Minister Slaven Dobrovic says that a conserved environment and natural resources are invaluable and "we should not treat them as owners but as custodians because the quality of our lives depends on them."
"Waste puts a lot of pressure on the environment and our priority is to introduce a comprehensive waste management system based on a circular economy and the exploitation of all valuable raw materials from it," Dobrovic said in a message on Sunday, issued for World Environment Day.
"We must separate, recycle and compost waste" rather than let it end up "in the environment, in landfills, or even worse, in meadows or woods," he said, calling for the preservation of biodiversity and wise management of natural resources.
World Environment Day is observed on June 5 with a view to encouraging people to become active participants in sustainable and balanced development and to take responsibility for preserving the planet. This year's theme is "Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife".
The Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection warns that because of growing demand for rare and endangered species there is a widespread illegal trade often involving criminal organisations, which is why it is necessary to raise public awareness of this problem.
Last year, Croatian authorities seized 417 animals listed as protected species from people trying to smuggle them. Among them were mostly turtles, various song birds, lynx fur and stuffed wolves.
According to the European Commission, an estimated 8 to 20 billion euro pass annually through the hands of organised criminal groups, ranking alongside the trafficking of drugs, people and arms.