The case of pollution control offenders

Published: Tuesday 15 March 1994

-- GIVEN the state of pollution in Indian cities and rivers, most people would conclude that nothing is being done to control pollution. But figures have an unusual knack of belying common thinking.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, in 1992 no less than 5,535 cases were filed against pollution offenders across India. Between 1987 and 1992, the central and state pollution control boards won 4,881 cases, against 23,890 cases filed in that period.

Though the number of cases filed every year is increasing, the proportion of court decisions in favour of the boards is getting smaller. Nonetheless, in 1992, the courts did award 109 imprisonment orders under the Water Pollution Control Act and 153 such orders under the Air Pollution Control Act.

If pollution continues despite all this, is it because Indian industrialists don't care about going to jail? If not, why are our air and water still so filthy?

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