Eco-Police Crack Down on City Polluters

By Janet Lawler
|  Friday, Mar 27, 2009  |  Updated 3:16 PM EDT
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Eco-Police Crack Down on City Polluters

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Size matters especially when it comes to local fish.

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There is a band of about twenty police officers called the "Eco-Police".  Their mission?  To enforce environmental laws throughout New York City.

The eco-police roam city streets, wearing Stetson hats and olive-green uniforms, on the lookout for polluters. 
  
The conservation officers hand out about 2,000 summonses for violations and criminal charges annually in the city.  Their jobs have become more visible and demanding with growing public awareness about global warming, the New York Times reports.  

Eco-police have been known to crack down on shop owners selling undersized fish at the fish market. They periodically  measure the fish and levy heavy fines to offenders.   

What's the biggest environmental offense in New York?  Store owners who lock their recycling machines to prevent New Yorkers from depositing bottles and cans.      

The eco-police are part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation and answer pollution complaints every day.  They carry out spot inspections and longer investigations against repeat offenders. 

They especially  tough on truck drivers with black-smoke spewing vehicles in low-income neighborhoods or auto repair shops that let motor oil leak on our streets. 

Don't even think about calling them tree-huggers. These guys may be eco-conscious, but they also carry guns and handcuffs.  

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