Beijing, March 13: Chinese courts have concluded 19,000 criminal cases involving environmental pollution and undermining resources in 2015, up 18.8 percent year on year, a report of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said Sunday.
Courts at all levels also concluded 78,000 civil cases concerning environmental protection, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang said in the report.
An intermediate court of Fujian province concluded the country's first public interest litigation concerning environment, the People's Daily reported.
In January 2015, two non-governmental organisations filed a lawsuit against four individuals for severely damaging forests in Nanping city.
The first public interest litigation case followed the 2012 amendment to the Civil Procedure Law, which allowed agencies or organisations to bring litigation against those who undermined public welfare by infringing on consumers' interests.
The report said in the 13 provincial regions carrying out the pilot project, procuratorates initiated pre-litigation processes for 325 cases and 224 cases were rectified by related government bodies.