Environment-related offences have increased by 68 per cent in India in 2020 compared to the previous year, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
Responding to a query, Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Choubey said that the number of cases registered for investigation under environment-related offences have increased from 40,968 in 2019 to 68,921 in 2020.
Giving out the data of the last three years, the minister said that in 2017 the number of such cases was 44,808 and in 2018, it reduced slightly to 41,441.
Out of the total number of such offences, India recorded 7,482 cases under the Noise Pollution Act in 2020, down from 8,574 in 2017, the minister said.
Data showed that the number of cases registered under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act increased from 27,407 in 2019 to 55,251 in 2020.
Responding to another query about violations under the Forest Act, the minister said that to prevent illegal trafficking of endangered animals and wildlife species and to conserve wild flora and fauna of the country, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) conducted joint operations with state enforcement agencies to apprehend criminals involved in smuggling. ”One hundred and fifty-three joint operations were conducted in 2019-20 which led to the arrest of 344 wildlife criminals, while in the year 2020-21, 101 joint operations resulted in the arrest of 304 criminals and in 2021-22 till September 2021, 74 joint operations were conducted in which 202 wildlife criminals were arrested,” he said in a written response.
The WCCB also conducted capacity-building for forests and police officials on investigation of wildlife cases under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 with 26 such programs being conducted and 1,081 officials from state police and forest department being trained in 2018-19.
”Twenty-four programs were conducted and 1,102 officials trained in 2019-20, while 11 programs were conducted and 403 officials trained in 2020-21. In 2021-22 till September, 2021, three such capacity building programmes have been conducted resulting in the training of 141 officials,” the MoS said.