Environmental crime refers to any activity that breaks environmental law and harms the environment. As nature and environmentalism encompass a variety of areas, environmental crime does as well. Criminal activity in this realm includes crimes against wildlife, breaking pollution-control laws, smuggling oil and metals, trafficking timber, and many more. It is a growing national and international problem, and can harm a country's economy, security and ecology.
According to Interpol, environmental crime is often carried out by large crime syndicates and is usually committed hand-in-hand with other crimes such as drug trading and weapons smuggling. International organizations that enforce environmental crime include Interpol, the United Nations' Environmental Programme, and in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency.
As time has passed and the issue has grown, the penalties of committing environmental crime have become more severe, with jail time and expensive fines commonly handed out as punishments. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)