Maharashtra tops list in environmental violations: NCRB

By Badri Chatterjee

The National Crime Records Bureau said that 97 of 120 green law violations in India and 21 of 25 air pollution violations in 2016 were from Maharashtra

Maharashtra recorded most violations under the Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986 and air pollution control rules in all states in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report. With 170 cases, environment-related offences, too, showed a 25% rise in Maharashtra compared to previous years, the data showed.

According to the NCRB, 97 of 120 EPA violation cases in India in 2016 and 21 of 25 air pollution rule violation cases in India last year were from Maharashtra. In 2015, the state had recorded second highest violations under EPA with 46 offences.

This is the second year in a row when Maharashtra recorded maximum violations under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. In 2015, 42 of the 50 offences in India were from the state.

State government officials said the rise can be attributed to increased vigilance and better enforcement by different government bodies. “We are regularly filing cases of environmental violations. There is no tolerance for such illegal acts,” said Satish Gavai, additional chief secretary, state environment department. “There are very few isolated incidents like in Taloja industrial area, where there is connivance, but even there we are developing systems, which will eliminate human subjectivity and bring increased deterrence.”

Environment-related offences cover five laws – Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, EPA, Air Pollution, and Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The state recorded 136 environment-related offences in 2014 and 127 in 2015. This year, 239 people – 234 men and five women — were arrested for environment-related offences in the state.

“Most offences involved violation of environmental laws by polluting industries, mangrove and wetland destruction, land reclamation, noise pollution, sand mining, and destruction of forests and wildlife,” said a state government official.

Uttar Pradesh topped the list of environment-related offences in India (2,130 cases) in 2016, followed by Rajasthan (1,381 cases). Environment-related offences across India have been on steady decline – 5,835 cases in 2014, 5,156 in 2015 and 4,732 in 2016.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with a list of 30 most polluted cities in the world. It included Gwalior, Allahabad and Delhi, but none from Maharashtra.

Maharashtra recorded 33 offences cases under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and 19 violations under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Source: Hindustan Times

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