NATIONAL

‘8% drop in environmental crimes’

NCRB says 424 less cases in 2016; U.P., Rajasthan record maximum violations; fewer cases of pollution

The data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently have shown a decline of over 8% in environmental crimes across the country.

A total of 4,732 environmental crimes were recorded in 2016, marking a decline from 5,156 offences in the same category in 2015.

Environmental crimes include offences related to Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

U.P. at the top

Like in 2015, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh remained the highest contributor — about 75% — to all environmental crimes reported in 2016. With 2,130 cases, Uttar Pradesh contributed to 45% of all cases, while Rajasthan recorded 1,381 cases, accounting for 29.2% of all crimes related to environment.

Other States recorded far less crimes, with Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh accounting for 178 cases each, Maharashtra 170 cases and Assam 149 cases.

Most of the crimes related to environment were reported under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 — 3,715 cases accounting for 78% of all environment-related crimes.

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, with 859 cases accounted for about 18% of all environment crimes recorded in 2016. Fewer crimes were recorded under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, with only 25 cases reported from 36 States and Union Territories.

Delhi, which is reeling under severe air pollution for the past few weeks, did not record a single case under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, in 2016. Only 11 cases were registered under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, in the country last year, according to the NCRB data.

Experts question data

“There seems to be a mismatch in the data published by the NCRB and the situation on the ground. It is very strange that not a single case of air pollution has been recorded in Delhi in 2016,” said Kiran Pandey, programme director, information management, Centre for Science and Environment .

Ms. Pandey said even if the cases pending before the courts in different parts of the country are taken into account, the figures presented by the NCRB seem to be less and the methodology for compilation of these figures needs to be looked into and rectified.

The NCRB first compiled environment-related crimes across India in 2014. A total of 5,835 environmental crimes were reported across the country that year.

More arrests

In 2016, 8,387 persons were arrested for environmental crimes. This is marginally higher than 8,034 arrests made for environmental crimes across India in 2015.

Of the 8,387 persons arrested in 2016, only 15 were women. Uttar Pradesh made 4,806 arrests (57%) for environment crimes, while 1,666 persons — about 20% — were arrested from Rajasthan.

Recommended for you