Environmental crimes and green criminology in Bangladesh

Published date01 July 2023
AuthorSherajul Mustajib Sharif,Md. Kamal Uddin
Date01 July 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Criminology & Criminal Justice
2023, Vol. 23(3) 490 –510
© The Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/17488958211057696
Environmental crimes
and green criminology
in Bangladesh
Sherajul Mustajib Sharif
Voice of International Affairs, Bangladesh
Md. Kamal Uddin
University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
Bangladesh is an environmentally vulnerable country, where environmental crimes are massive
and common. However, the environmental crime prevention mechanism in the country is very
weak, and traditional policing is utilized to stop these crimes. Therefore, the green criminological
approach to prevent environmental crimes in Bangladesh is underdeveloped in many ways, with
a total absence of the green policing model. Hence, this study focuses on attaining a critical
understanding of environmental crimes in Bangladesh by exploring the key underlying factors
of environmental crimes. It also attempts to contribute to the environmental crime prevention
mechanism by recommending a green policing model, while identifying the key weaknesses of
the existing environmental crime prevention approach. This article implements the qualitative
technique of data collection, and the analysis is based on an in-depth interview of 25 respondents,
belonging to different categories of stakeholders, and participant observation. It also analyses the
content of newspapers to understand the patterns of environmental crimes in Bangladesh. This
article finds that environmental crimes are propagated by several political, economic, institutional,
and social elements, such as the political affiliation of criminals, economic profit from natural
resources, absence of institutional collaboration, and lack of social consciousness. The issue has
become further aggravated due to the weakness of the crime prevention mechanism. Thus, the
findings of this study suggest that environmental crimes in Bangladesh should be considered and
understood from green criminological perspectives and the development of a green policing
model would be effective in reducing environmental crimes in the country.
Corresponding author:
Md. Kamal Uddin, Department of International Relations, University of Chittagong, Chittagong 4331,
Email: kamalircu@yahoo.com
1057696CRJ0010.1177/17488958211057696Criminology & Criminal JusticeSharif and Uddin
Sharif and Uddin 491
Bangladesh, crime prevention mechanism, environmental crimes, green criminology, green
There is a constant debate surrounding the definition of environmental crimes. Several
schools of thought have defined it from different epistemological perspectives. The con-
ventional criminological schools of thought focus on the “anthropocentric” point of view
in identifying the criminal perspective, while critical criminological schools of thought
emphasize the “ecocentric” lens in outlining environmental crimes (White, 2013). “The
United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute” revealed that “envi-
ronmental crimes encompass a broad list of illicit activities, including illegal trade in
wildlife; smuggling of ozone-depleting substances (ODS); illicit trade of hazardous
waste; illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing; and illegal logging and trade in tim-
ber etc.” (UNICRI, n.d., para. 2). Since the inception of the global environmental dis-
course in Stockholm Summit 1972, the concept of environmental crime has received
considerable criminological attention. Therefore, countries are becoming increasingly
aware of environmental protection since then. However, the existing studies acknowl-
edge that without preventing harm against nature, it would be impossible to ensure envi-
ronmental protection and human security (White, 2013). Thus, activities against nature
have been considered as criminal offense, although the understanding of environmental
crimes and the approach implanted for their prevention are identified in different forms,
such as traditional criminology, critical criminology, green criminology, environmental
criminology, and conservation criminology (Gibbs and Boratto, 2017).
Many countries have enacted various rules and regulations to reduce environmental
crimes and to protect the environment. Moreover, the political affiliations of environ-
mental criminals, economic inducement of environmental crimes, legal clarity of juris-
diction, lack of administrative coordination, and lack of effective and appropriate crime
prevention mechanisms are common problems, particularly in developing and underde-
veloped countries. However, both developed and developing countries are struggling to
solve these challenges. The context of reducing environmental crimes in developing
countries is different from that in developed countries due to different political struc-
tures, socio-economic stability, financial capacity, and institutional capability. Therefore,
Gibbs and Boratto (2017) advocated the importance of the global, regional, and local
contexts of environmental crimes and crime controlling mechanisms.
In Bangladesh, environmental crimes are increasing routinely despite the fact that
several environmental policies and laws are in place (Faroque and South, 2020). Frequent
news of hill cutting, illegal installment of brick kilns, river grabbing, encroachment,
waste, and chemical dumping, illegal exploitation of forest wood, illegal wildlife hunt-
ing, cruelty against wildlife, wildlife smuggling, and illegal fishing demonstrate the sev-
eral environmental crimes that routinely occur in Bangladesh (Tables 2 and 3). This
depicts that diverse types of offenders, ranging from individuals, criminal groups, corpo-
rate groups, and governmental organizations, are involved in committing these crimes. It

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