It feels good to step outside and breathe a big breath of fresh air. Having clean air, clean water and an environment free of toxins and pollutants has always been a desire of man. But, before the 1970s, there were few mechanisms in place to protect the environment and the natural resources found within the United States of America. Mounting concerns about air, water, and land quality led to environmental legislation designed to protect the environment from harmful actions. In this lesson, we will learn about some ground breaking laws and discuss how government regulations safeguard the health of our natural world. Just taking a closer look at PK Halder Post.
Is the collection of laws and regulations about air quality, water quality, wilderness, endangered wildlife, and other environmental factors. The umbrella of environmental legislation covers many laws and regulations, yet they all work together toward a common goal, which is regulating the interaction between man and the natural world to reduce threats to the environment and increase public health.
As you might imagine, environmental legislation is a broad topic, mainly because the natural environment encompasses so many different aspects. So, environmental laws need to consider everything, from the air we breathe to the natural resources we rely on to the plants and animals that share this world with us.
To better understand environmental law, let’s look at an example. Let’s say that an energy company wants to build a coal-burning power plant to create electricity for the community. Where should this power plant be built? What type of pollutants might result from coal burning, and what measures will need to be taken to control harmful emissions? If the power plant is built at the edge of town to lessen air pollution for the human population, how will this impact the lesser species that inhabit the land downwind of the plant? These are all considerations to be evaluated within the scope of environmental law.
What are the environmental laws in India?
Environmental laws are an important part of any governance body. It comprises a set of laws and regulations concerning air quality, water quality, and other aspects of the environment. The environmental laws in India are guided by environmental legal principles and focus on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, or fisheries.
The environmental laws in India are a direct reflection of what was envisaged in the constitution. The need for protection and conservation of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources is reflected in the constitutional framework of India and also in the international commitments of India.
Environmental Laws in India
Environmental laws are an important part of any governance body. It comprises a set of laws and regulations concerning air quality, water quality, and other aspects of the environment.
The environmental laws in India are guided by environmental legal principles and focus on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, or fisheries.
They are a direct reflection of what was envisaged in the constitution. The need for protection and conservation of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources is reflected in the constitutional framework of India and also in the international commitments of India.
Environment Related Provisions in the Indian Constitution. Environment protection is mentioned in the Indian Constitution as part of Directive Principles of State Policy as well as Fundamental Duties.
Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) Article 48A
Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. For more information about Environmental Legislation of India please visit Pritish Kumar Halder ‘s page.
Fundamental duties (Part IV A) Article 51A
To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.
- The detailed and developed framework for environmental protection came after the UN conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, in 1972.
- This led to the formation of the National Council for Environmental Policy and Planning in 1972 within the science and technology department.
- This was set up to establish a regulatory body for the overview of the environmental-related issues and concerns.
- This council was later converted to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
The government of India has made numerous acts to protect the environment and biodiversity. The important and impactful environmental laws and acts are listed and explained below.
(1) The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants; and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. It extends to the whole of India.
- It has six schedules that give varying degrees of protection:
- Schedule I and part II of Schedule provide absolute protection, offenses under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
- Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
- Animals under Schedule V, e.g. common crows, fruit bats, rats, and mice, are legally considered vermin and may be hunted freely.
The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting.
Statutory bodies under WPA:
- National Board for Wildlife and state wildlife advisory boards
- Central Zoo Authority
- Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
- National Tiger Conservation Authority
(2) The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Objective: To provide prevention and control of water pollution. Maintaining or restoring wholesomeness and purity of water in the various sources of water.
- It vests regulatory authority in Centre Pollution Control Boards (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
- CPCB and SPSB are statutory bodies created under the Water Act, of 1974. It empowers CPCB and SPCB to establish and enforce effluent standards for factories discharging pollutants into water bodies.
- CPCB performs these same functions for union territories along with formulating policies related to the prevention of water pollution and coordinating activities of different SPSBs.
- SPCB controls sewage and industrial effluent discharge by approving, rejecting, and granting consent to discharge.
(3) The Air (prevention and control of pollution) act, 1981
- The act targets to control and prevent air pollution in India and its main objectives are:
- To provide for prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution.
- To provide for the establishment of the boards at the central and state levels to implement the act.
- CPCB and SPCB were given the responsibility.
It states that the sources of air pollution such as internal combustion engines, industry, vehicles, power plants, etc., are not permitted to release particulate matter, lead, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or other toxic substances beyond the predetermined limit.
It empowers the state government to designate air pollution areas.
(4) The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- This act was passed under article 253 (legislation for giving effect to international agreements)
- This was passed in the wake of the Bhopal gas tragedy in December 1984.
- It was enacted to achieve the UN conference on the human environment, 1972- Stockholm declaration.
- Eco-sensitive zones or ecologically fragile areas are notified by MoEFCC under EPA, 1986 – 10 km buffer zones around protected areas.
Statutory bodies under the EPA, 1986:
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee
- National Coastal Zone Management Authority (later converted to National Ganga Council under the Ministry of Jal Sakthi)
- The ozone-depleting substances (regulation and control) rules, 2000.
- It set deadlines for phasing out of various Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) and regulating production, trade import, and export of the product containing ODS.
- These rules prohibit the use of CFCs, halons, ODSs such as carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform, and SFC except in metered-dose inhalers and for other medical purposes.
Coastal Regulation zone notification 2018:
- It was notified based on the recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak Committee.
- To promote sustainable development while taking into account the natural hazards such as increasing sea levels due to global warming.
- To conserve and protect biodiversity besides livelihood security to local communities including the fishermen.