Environmental law violation cases saw major increase in 2021

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 19, (Agencies): The number of cases related to environmental misdemeanors and felonies recorded a big jump in the year 2021, tripling from 571 to 1,760 in misdemeanors, and doubling from 17 to 35 in felonies, reports Al-Rai daily. According to a special statistic on the total reports of environmental cases (misdemeanors and felonies) registered in the Environmental Police Department during the past five years, a record number was registered last year with 1,760 misdemeanor cases, which is a huge increase compared to 571 in 2020, 537 in 2019, 264 in 2018, and 366 in 2017.

As for criminal cases, last year they amounted to 35, compared to 17 in 2020, 27 in 2019, 10 in 2018, and 34 in 2017. Security sources explained that the Environmental Police Department is exerting great efforts to deter recklessness and violators of environmental law both on land and at sea, by distributing a number of police officers in many locations in the country. This contributed to monitoring and curbing many environmental violations, which were recorded between felonies and misdemeanors against hundreds of violators. The total number of misdemeanor cases amounted to 3,498, and the total number of cases of felonies amounted to 123. All these cases were referred to the judiciary since the establishment of the department in 2017.

The defendants in felony cases face imprisonment for a period of three years and above and/or fines exceeding KD 3,000. Those accused in misdemeanor cases face imprisonment for periods less than three years and/or fines less than KD 3,000. Regarding the reason behind the doubling of the numbers, the sources explained that this is mainly due to the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Interior with the cooperation of the concerned authorities. The most prominent criminal cases include entering protected areas without permission, cutting wires and nets, fishing in prohibited areas, throwing huge quantities of waste, which is punishable by the law, or possessing animals prohibited by international agreements.

The sources stressed that the Ministry of Interior, represented by the Environment Police, with the cooperation of the relevant authorities, monitors and documents all reports, and deals with each of them confidentially in order to control violations and issue citations against those who try to harm the environment. They insisted that there is no overlooking any violation, whether small or big, adding that whoever commits a violation will expose himself to the penalties stipulated in the law.

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