Maharashtra was the worst offender of all the states under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA), 1986, with 41 cases registered in the state in 2014, revealed the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released on Wednesday.
For the first time, NCRB has released six different parameters, under which violations have been recorded for environment laws.
Apart from the EPA violations, 25 cases were filed under the Forest Act, 1927, 56 for breaking the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and one case each under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (as amended in 1988) and Atomic Energy Act, 1962. Maharashtra is the only state to register an environment violation under the Atomic Energy Act. The state also recorded 13 offences under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the second highest after West Bengal, which reported 24 cases.
“When human beings encroach on something, there are consequences,” said Arvind Untawale, retired marine biologist and executive secretary, Mangrove Society of India.
Untawale pointed out that mangroves have been declining at a faster rate in Mumbai than in other parts of the state. “The city’s large mangrove cover has been reduced to small patches that can be seen through satellite imagery. The state needs to understand their significance before they sanction projects such as the coastal road,” he said.
Experts said that violations regarding air quality have been closely monitored over the past year owing to pressure from environmental groups and vigilance of the state pollution control board.
“A major problem when it comes to air pollution is particulate matter, small pollutant particles that can easily enter the lungs,” said Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), who added that a lot more data monitoring, studies were needed to reduce these emissions.
The NCRB report also revealed that 228 people were arrested in the state in 2014 under various environmental acts.
Sixth highest environment violations
The latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) under the Ministry of Home Affairs released on Wednesday places Maharashtra sixth as compared to all the other states with regard to total number of environmental violations under six different acts.