The environment and the wildlife around us are directly impacted or harmed by environmental and wildlife crimes. Nearly every country in the world would classify any activity that endangers the environment as a crime against nature. In terms of organized crime, it is also the fourth most prevalent criminal activity.
CRIME AGAINST FLORA AND FAUNA IS INCLUDED IN THE BROADER CATEGORY OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME
Crimes against flora include overusing chemicals, polluting the environment, destroying forests, and using land in an unnatural way that is intended for trees and wildlife. The taking, ownership, trading, movement, processing, or consumption of wild animals, plants, or their derivatives in violation of any international, regional, or national laws is known as fauna or wildlife crime. Poaching, coursing, stealing flora that are protected, using poisons illegally, etc. are examples of common wildlife crimes. It usually impacts animals that are on the verge of extinction because they have a unique quality or trait that makes trading in this market lucrative. The food chain, biodiversity, animal habitats in their natural settings, climate, and natural processes in nature has all suffered significant damage. The natural order has been terribly upset by these atrocities.
SEVERAL EXAMPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME
Five of the most common environmental crime areas worldwide are listed in a recent UN Environment research titled “The State of Knowledge on Crimes that have Serious Impacts on the Environment”: Wildlife crime: According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), wildlife crime affects a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects, and plants, and is particularly pervasive in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Illegal logging: According to a 2016 research by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, illegal logging has spread throughout all tropical forest regions, including China, India, and Vietnam, three of the world’s largest importers of both legal and illicit tropical wood products.
Illegal fishing is a global problem, taking place in both national exclusive economic zones and international waterways, according to a 2013 research by the PEW Charitable Trust. Crimes involving pollution: Illegal garbage disposal and trading have harmed local ecosystems, contaminated the air, land, and water, and negatively impacted not just human health but also animal and plant life. The majority of illicit garbage shipments come from industrialised nations, with the European Union, the United States, Japan, and Australia frequently cited as the top exporters. Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Benin and Senegal) and Asia are the primary destinations for illegal trash trafficking (China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam).
Illegal mining: Illegal mining is a problem that the general public is becoming increasingly concerned about. It is common in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. It has negative effects on the environment, including radiation risks, destruction of native flora and fauna, pollution, and mercury pollution from artisanal gold mining.
TREATIES AND CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE
- Montreal Protocol: It came into effect in 1987. This was signed to protect the ozone layer depletion. Under the same protocol, on October 16 2016, countries who had signed for the protection of ozone layer adopted Kigali amendment to reduce the use of Hydrofluorocarbon.
- Kyoto and Paris agreement: These agreements were signed to reduce greenhouse gases.
- Berne Convention: It came into force on June 1982. The purpose of this convention was to protect the flora and fauna.
- Environmental and wildlife protection treaties and convention
- The 1987 implementation of the Montreal Protocol. This was signed to prevent the destruction of the ozone layer. On October 16, 2016, countries that have ratified the Kigali Amendment to restrict the use of hydrofluorocarbons adopted it as part of the same protocol.
- Kyoto and Paris Accords: These pacts were ratified to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Berne Convention: In June 1982, it became operative. The convention’s goal was to safeguard the natural world’s plants and animals.
- The 1993 entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The goal is to discuss biodiversity and to impart practical applications of biodiversity. The primary goal was to promote the wise use of natural resources.
- International Trade in Endangered Species Convention
- The 1975 implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The objective is to safeguard animals from overexploitation brought on by global trade.
- The CMS (Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals) was established in 1983. The goal is to protect both hunted species and the habitat of migratory animals.
- The Ramsar Convention became operative in 1971. This convention’s primary goal was to safeguard the wetlands. Water is the primary factor in managing the ecosystem in wetlands.
- The Stockholm Convention entered into effect in 2002.Its goal is to safeguard both the environment and human health from the harmful effects of organic pollution. The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro saw the signing of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change. The fundamental goal was to stop risky behaviour and human intervention with climate change.
Although we have passed numerous laws and ratified treaties, our environment and animals still differ. There are still folks and leaders whose deeds endanger wildlife and the environment. The laws that have been drafted by the governments of different nations should be strictly implemented, and international organisations should strictly add some new provisions that are strict enough to compel the nations to make the prevention of various environmental and wildlife crimes their primary rather than their secondary goals. Educate people about this issue as well. History, politics, and a number of other disciplines are taught to kids. As their primary subjects, not as electives or ancillary courses, they must be taught such subjects that deal with the environment and climate change. The public can assist scientists and governments by adhering to their rules and regulations by supporting ideas and programmes that have a high level of efficacy.
Author’s Name: Saloni Singh (University of petroleum and energy studies, Dehradun)