Cases under environment related offences increased over 4% in 2021

NEW DELHI: A total of 64,471 cases were registered under environment related offences in the country during 2021 as compared to 61,767 cases in 2020, showing an increase of 4.4%, but nearly 84% of these cases pertained to offences under one law – Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act – that provides for different regulations on such products including prohibiting smoking in a public place and advertisement.
Crime head-wise cases, compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), revealed that only 55 cases were registered in the country 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 environment related offences in India. The number of cases under the Act declined substantially from 589 in 2020 to 55 last year.
Delhi and Punjab did not register any case 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 55 such cases, 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/UT, Tamil Nadu registered the highest number of environment related cases (46,458) followed by Rajasthan (9387) and Kerala (2659). In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, nearly 99% of cases pertained to the regulations on cigarette/tobacco products.
Total cases registered last year include 54,024 under Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act; 7,217 under Noise Pollution Act; 2,292 under the Forest Act & the Forest Conservation Act; 615 under the Wildlife Protection Act; 252 under Environmental Protection Act and 16 under the National Green Tribunal Act.
As far as conviction under green offences is concerned, total 46,725 persons were convicted last year with over 83% of them being convicted under the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act. Among other offences, 6,318 persons were convicted under the Noise Pollution Act whereas 1,119 persons were convicted under the Forest and Forest Conservation Act.
Only 21 persons were convicted under the Air & Water Prevention & Control of Pollution Act while 247 persons were convicted under the Wildlife Protection Act in 2021.

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