There are many ways to prevent environmental crimes. Environmental crimes refer to any illegal activity that harms the environment, such as illegal dumping of hazardous waste, poaching, and illegal logging. These crimes have serious consequences for the environment, human health, and the economy. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Environmental crime presents a particularly difficult problem for nations and international organizations because of the wide range of criminal behaviors that are thought to fall under this category. Furthermore, certain environmental crimes are transnational and may entail the trading or trafficking resources across international borders via skilled criminal organizations or networks.
When contrasted with other types of international crime, these organizations or networks view environmental infractions as a rich opportunity with minimal risk. In addition to breaking local law, these actions also go against the prohibition regimes in several Multilateral Environmental Agreements or MEAs. Evidence suggests that other illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, have enabled or been done in concert with international criminal syndicates’ growing engagement in transnational environmental crime.
Compliance is an essential component of effective governance. It is a component of having a successful legal system. Sustainable growth is only possible with it.
Ways to Prevent Environmental Crimes
Monitoring and investigation can be done in the following areas:
- Environmental criminal investigations focus on the most serious infractions of environmental regulations that endanger public health and the environment. Criminal investigations are conducted using various techniques, including interviews, document or person searches, object or document examinations, use of force in self-defense when needed, and subject-specific expertise, including environmental crime. Special agents and detectives with the necessary training are needed for this.
- Investigations into environmental crimes necessitate in-depth research using scientific techniques and technological know-how. A crucial and specialized field is the sampling and testing substances such as chemicals or colored liquids to gather evidence against environmental offenders. It takes scientists and highly qualified technology professionals to gather this proof.
- The legal and prosecutorial aspects of environmental criminality are in high demand. Environmental rules and regulations have been formed at all aspects, such as criminal, administrative, and environmental liability levels, including punishments, jail time, fines, and harm repair. Environmental law professionals with particular training handle expensive legal and criminal issues.
- Environmental crime generates enormous income for transnational criminal organizations. Money launderers’ main objectives include hiding the sources of earnings from environmental crimes, saving money, and making more money accessible. Financial intelligence units or FIUs receive reports of money laundering cases, which prompts the enlarging of investigations and prosecutions when an environmental crime is shown to be related.
- Financial institution compliance staff must prioritize using financial intelligence to combat environmental crime. Suspicious transactions involving suspected environmental crime should be identified and reported to the appropriate authorities to lessen the danger of damage to the environment, natural resources, and human health.
There currently needs to be more information about environmental crimes and associated problems available to the public, making it difficult for administrations or other public institutes to create effective policies to prevent environmental crimes. Because certain illegal actions are hidden and have a low detection rate, it might be difficult to assess many crimes accurately. Environmental crimes are sometimes carried out publicly, as in the case of fisheries, forestry, or minerals, but they can also be perpetrated through legal or illegal marketplaces.
Employing anti-money laundering or AML legislation to punish environmental offenders may be a better strategy than pursuing them exclusively through environmental restrictions. Money laundering is a serious crime with substantial repercussions in many nations.
Environmental crime often carries fairly light punishments in the majority of countries throughout the world, whereas AML rules typically result in harsher penalties. It can be challenging to develop a predicate offense plan to address Environmental crime since some conditions may make it impossible to punish offenders under Anti-money laundering and Combating Financing Terrorism laws.
If environmental crime activities reach a specific threshold, they must be considered a predicate offense under national anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing or AML/CTF regulations. If an environmental crime doesn’t satisfy that bar, it won’t be enough to start an inquiry. Another need is that the species being trafficked or poached must be protected by national laws to be included in the environmental AML/CTF legislation. If these requirements are not satisfied, the legislation will not be triggered.
Recent technology advancements have given us more access to the globe and its magnificent biodiversity than we could have ever dreamed. The critically endangered gorillas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the elephants in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, and the Amazon rainforest may be experienced virtually by anybody with a reliable internet connection. However, the technologies that enable us to view almost every part of the globe also provide criminals the means to commit environmental crimes, which have a reputation for being low-risk and high-reward.
Monitoring and communication are the foundation of any effective campaign against environmental crime, and technology has improved both the methods and the resources at the international community’s disposal in this area. Satellites, aerial drones, remote trigger systems that start cameras or any other monitoring and security protocols, thermal imaging cameras, and radio frequency detection are examples of modern technology that allows us to scan over land and water.
Secure information networks may be used to gather and exchange this data. Such enables local, regional, and international law enforcement agencies to evaluate it, interact with one another, and take action to find leads and dismantle the organized networks that benefit from environmental crime.
Peruvian officials discovered that 90 percent of the shipment of timber—1.2 million cubic meters—leaving Iquitos aboard the freighter was illegally harvested. Enforcement actions got begun. Police tracked the ship’s movement using signals from its Automatic Identification System or AIS, and after temporarily arresting the ship, Brazilian authorities established that it was carrying illicit lumber. Local officials in Tampico, Mexico, seized part of the lumber after determining it to be illegal.
Although these technological advancements improve communications and monitoring within the international environmental community, technology cannot be seen in isolation from those who utilize it. While it is critical to choose the best and most appropriate technologies for the variety of dangers faced by law enforcement, the effectiveness of these instruments also depends on the presence of trained personnel. Before introducing a new technology or piece of equipment to law enforcement, it is crucial to make sure that all legal considerations, including safeguarding human rights, have been taken into account.
Environmental crimes refer to any illegal activities that cause harm to the environment, such as pollution, deforestation, wildlife trafficking, and illegal waste disposal. These crimes have serious implications for both the environment and human health. To prevent environmental crimes, various monitoring approaches, innovative technologies, and compliance programs can be used. These approaches aim to deter individuals and corporations from engaging in such activities by increasing the risk of detection, prosecution, and punishment.
Overall, a combination of monitoring approaches, innovative technologies, and compliance programs can be used to prevent environmental crimes. By increasing the risk of detection and punishment, these approaches can deter individuals and corporations from engaging in activities that harm the environment.