BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- China's Supreme People's Court Monday issued a guideline asking courts at all levels to exercise better judicial functions in environmental cases to contribute to the building of a more ecologically aware society.
"The courts should act professionally in trials to ensure the ultimate protection of the ecological environment, as well as the ecological damage compensation and accountability system," the guideline said.
It called for specialized departments or teams in courts to handle criminal, civil and administrative environmental cases.
The top court also required strengthened legal protection of the ecological environment in certain key areas, including the Yangtze River Economic Zone, the Xiongan New Area and the country's piloted national parks.
Courts across the country in 2017 accepted 21,241 criminal environmental cases in first trials and concluded 20,602.
A total of 207,552 first trial civil environmental cases were accepted and 190,125 concluded in 2018.
World Environment Day falls on Tuesday.