Environmental Crimes Current Affairs - 2020

CAG Report: 40% of Environment Related Crimes in India are from Rajasthan

On March 6, 2020, the Comptroller and Auditor General tabled the report for the year that ended on 31st March 2018 (2017-18). The report was tabled in the assembly. According to the report, between 2014 and 2016, 40% of environmental crimes in India were from Rajasthan.

Key Findings of the Report

The report pointed out that Wildlife Crime Control units were not established in the state. The crimes violated Forest (Conservation) act and Wildlife Protect Act.

Between 2014 and 2016, the number of environmental crimes registered in the country were 15,723 and those registered in Rajasthan were 6,382.

Forest Reserves

The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve and Sariska Tiger Reserve were not regulated due to the absence of Local Advisory Committee. In Ranthambhore, 5 out of 10 core areas were not closed in monsoon season.

Irritants

The CAG identified several irritants to the wild life in the area. The Abheda Biological Park in Kota had garbage dumping yard nearby. The other concerns were firing range of the army, industrial areas and slums.

WCCB wins Asia Environment Enforcement Awards for combating trans-boundary environmental crime

United Nations Environment Program has selected Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and its enforcement officer RS Sharath for 2018 Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards. They were selected under organization and individual categories respectively for their outstanding contributions in combating the trans-boundary environmental crimes.  The 2018 Awards will be given by UNEP with UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL (UNODC), USAID, Freeland Foundation, and Government of Sweden.

Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards

The awards publicly recognize and celebrate excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions/teams combating transboundary environmental crime in Asia. They are given to outstanding individuals and/or government organizations and teams that demonstrate excellence and leadership in enforcement of national laws to combat transboundary environmental crime. The thematic scope of these awards covers any transboundary environmental crimes, including illegal trade in wildlife and illegal trade in chemicals or waste.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)

WCCB is statutory multi-disciplinary body under Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to combat organized wildlife crime in the country. It was established in June 2007 by amending Wildlife (Protection) Act (WLPA), 1972, a special Act to protect wildlife and fauna in the country.

Under Section 38 (Z) of WLPA, 1972, it is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime and disseminate it to state and other enforcement agencies for immediate action. It assists foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.

It is tasked with capacity building of wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist states to ensure success in wildlife crimes prosecutions. It advises Union Government on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.

It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and EXIM Policy governing such an item.

Note: This is second time in row that WCCB is awarded by UN Environment. Last yearit  was awarded for its efforts in conducting and coordinating species-specific wildlife enforcement operation codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’. The operation is aimed at combating proliferating illegal trade of live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad.