At 64,000, green law offenses up 4% in 2021, says report

NEW DELHI: A total of 64,471 cases were registered in 2021 under environment-related offenses, a 4.4% rise from 61,767 cases in 2020, but nearly 84% of these cases pertained to offenses under one law — the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act — which provides for regulations on such products including prohibiting smoking in public places and advertisement.

Crime head-wise cases, compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), revealed that only 55 cases were registered last year under the Air and Water Prevention & Control of Pollution Act even as violations under these laws in one or the other forms appear. to be one of the most glaring offenses in India. Delhi and Punjab did not register any cases under these laws that provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air/water pollution, and assign pollution control boards powers and functions to take required action to deal with violations, if any.

Out of these 55, Rajasthan registered the highest number of cases (19) followed by West Bengal (11), Madhya Pradesh (10), Uttar Pradesh (8), Haryana (4), Kerala (2) and Maharashtra (1).

Among states/UTs, Tamil Nadu registered the highest number of environment-related cases (46,458) followed by Rajasthan (9,387) and Kerala (2,659). In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, nearly 99% of cases pertained to the regulations on cigarette/tobacco products.

As far as conviction under green offenses is concerned, 46,725 persons were convicted last year with over 83% of them being convicted under the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act. Among other offenses, 6,318 persons were convicted under the Noise Pollution Act and 1,119 under the Forest and Forest Conservation Act.

Only 21 persons were convicted under the Air & Water Prevention & Control of Pollution Act, while 247 were convicted under the Wildlife Protection Act in 2021.

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