A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, defines environment as, environment includes water, air and land and the interrelationship which exists among and between water, air and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property. It is quite an inclusive and not an exhaustive definition. With the passage of time, environment degradation is a rampant crisis arising out of careless human practises and the excessive exploitation of natural resources for developments and for monetary benefit. Crime, in the most basic sense refers to a gross violation of law which is violates the moral sentiments of the society.

The concept of Environmental Crime has been defined differently according to varying perspectives. It, in its most general sense, refers to the illegal activities which cause a direct negative effect on the environment and harm it. It is a socio-economic as well as a white collar offense. Conducted for an individual’s or an organisation’s personal gain or benefit or for securing business, it is intended to destroy the ecological and biological systems of the nature. The term green crime of ecological crime, used interchangeably with environmental crime, also points towards unauthorised or illegal acts which violate the laws of a state established for the protection of environment and therefore, render the violating party liable to criminal prosecution and criminal sanction. It endangers people’s health and safety. 

Since, there is no universally established or accepted definition for the concept of ‘environmental crime’, the ambit of the term is quite wide. The term also includes corporate crime in the forest and wildlife sector, trafficking of hazardous waste, illegal dumping of chemical waste,  smuggling of ozone depleted substances, illegal logging and trade in timber, unregulated fishing, illegal fisheries, illicit trade of hazardous waste, illegal mining resulting in mercury poisoning and artisanal gold mining, landscape degradation, radiation hazards, etc. Another unconventional practise included in the term is threat finance using illegally generated wealth gathered from the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals, oil, timber, charcoal, marine resources to fund terrorism and support non-state armed groups. Organised crime groups like Lord’s resistance army and Janjaweed have been found to be involved in killing of elephants for ivory. These days, natural resources are no less than drugs and even antiques which are used for gaining money.

It represents one of the many international problems which is snaking its way across the Earth at a steady rate. Non-arguably, it is one of the most crucial and destructive issues which need to be paid attention to, not only because the lack of combat would adversely deteriorate the biological systems, but also because their grave effect on public health and safety. Environmental crimes include a breach of treaties established internationally which have been specifically designed to restrict and subsequently put a halt to the trade in dangerous substances and endangered flora and fauna.

All of the illegal activities mentioned above have a long lasting effect on both the environment as well as the society. The differing explanations are not only necessary for making people aware of the heinous crimes, but also in view of considerations such as the liability for environmental crimes, extent of criminality, the strictness required in view of laws, nature of activities to be included under these crimes, necessary vigilance and the urgency with which these laws should be enforced and the liabilities and sanctions that should be imposed on the offenders upon the breach of the law in question.

While endangering human security, various reports on the issue conclude, how these crimes, specially, illegal mining of gold and diamonds and their trafficking rob various countries of their economies and undermines their commerce, bearing negative consequences on the potential revenues from myriad natural resources wherein these revenues could have been utilized for the development of healthcare, schools and sustainable business practises. Deteriorating living conditions due to extreme poverty and a lack of other available options, forces people to be involuntarily recruited within the web of environmental crimes. Diversification of organised crime into these sectors results in corruption and an imbalance of legal business models. Through extensive deforestation, unregulated pollution from massive chemical use and wrongful disposal, these crimes lead to the destruction of livelihoods.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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