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New Environment Laws in India

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  • Last Updated : 28 Jul, 2022
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To protect itself against any form of exploitation, the government makes laws to control unfair practices. In this article, the execution of laws and the enforcement to protect the environment are explained. Environmental law is an important part of any regulatory body. It includes a set of laws and regulations related to air quality, water quality, and other aspects of the environment. 

Environmental law in India is guided by environmental legal principles and focuses on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, and fisheries. Environmental law in India directly reflects what is envisioned in the constitution. The need to protect the environment, conserve and sustainably use natural resources is embodied in the framework of India’s constitution as well as India’s international commitments.  Important and influential environmental laws and behaviors are listed and explained below. 

New Laws To Protect Environment

Wild Life Act (Protection) of 1972

This Law is on the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants; and for matters related thereto either by accident or incidental to it. It extends to the whole of India. It has six appendices that provide different levels of protection:

  • Schedules I and Part II of the schedule provide absolute protection, offenses under them are prescribed the highest penalty. 
  • Species listed in Appendix III and IV are also protected, but the penalty is much lower. 
  • Animals from Appendix V, for example, Common crows, fruit bats, rats, and mice are legally considered vermin and can be hunted freely.
  • Endemic plant species specified in Appendix VI are prohibited from being planted and cultivated

Statutory authorities under Wildlife Protection Act: 

  • National Wildlife and State Wildlife Advisory Boards
  • Central Zoo Authority 
  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau 
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority

The Water Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution) of 1974

This law is to ensure the prevention and control of water pollution. Maintain or restore the safety and purity of water in various water sources. It gives management authority to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCBs) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs).

CPCB and SPSB are statutory bodies established under the Water Act 1974. It empowers CPCB and SPCB to set and enforce effluent standards for industries that discharge pollutants into the water bodies. The CPCB performs these same functions for the Union territories, in addition to formulating policies related to the prevention of water pollution and coordinating the activities of the various SPSBs. SPCB controls industrial wastewater and discharge by approving, denying, and authorizing discharges.

The Air Act (Prevention and Control of Pollution) of 1981

The Act is intended to control and prevent air pollution in India and its primary objectives are: 

  • To ensure prevention, control, and reduction of air pollution.
  • Provisions for the establishment of councils at the State and Central levels to implement the law.
  • The responsibility was given to CPCB and SPCB.

It stipulates that sources of air pollution such as internal combustion engines, industry, power plants, vehicles, etc., are not allowed to emit Carbon Monoxide, particulates, lead, nitrogen oxide, Sulphur dioxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or other hazardous substances above predetermined limits.  It gives the power to the state governments to designate air pollution areas.

Environment Protection Act of 1986

This act was adopted under Article 253 (Law in force for international agreements). This was adopted after the Bhopal gas tragedy in December 1984. It was issued in response to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment,1972 – Stockholm Declaration.  Ecologically sensitive areas or environmentally sensitive areas had been notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) under EPA, 1986 – 10 km buffer zones around protected areas. 

Statutory agencies under EPA, 1986: 

  • National Coastal Zone Management Authority (later transformed into National Ganga Council under Jal Shakti Ministry)
  • Genetic Engineering Review Committee

 Energy Conservation Act of 2001

  • It was enacted as a step to improve energy efficiency and reduce wastage. It prescribes energy consumption standards for appliances and equipment. 
  • It specifies energy consumption standards and norms for consumers. 
  • It specifies the energy-efficient building codes for commercial buildings. 

The statutory body established under this act is the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).

The National Green Tribunal Act of 2010

It was created in line with the 1992 Rio Summit to provide judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of pollutants and other environmental damage. 

  • It also agrees with Article 21, the constitutional right to a healthy environment for its citizens. 
  • The NGT must render judgment on the cases presented within 6 months of their appeal. 
  • The NGT has original jurisdiction over matters relating to significant environmental issues.

Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act of 2016

The CAF Law was enacted to manage the funds collected for afforestation under the compensation scheme which until then was administered by the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA). 

  • Compensatory Afforestation means that whenever forest land is converted to a non-forest use such as industry or mining, the user agency pays for reforestation on an equivalent area of ​​non-forested land, or if the land has no forest,  double the area of degraded forest land. 

According to the rules, 90% of CAF funds must be given to the states while 10% must be kept by the Centre. Funds can be used to treat watershed forests, support natural production, manage forests, protect and manage wildlife, relocate villages from protected areas, manage human-wildlife conflicts, train and awareness raising, provision of wood-saving devices, and related activities.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What are the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a foreign production company in India? 

Answer: 

Pros and cons of setting up a foreign production company in India are: 

  • Pros: Better job opportunities for all classes of society. It results in the economic development of the country.
  • Cons: Companies take advantage of workers in the form of extra hours of work etc. Government Officials do not question the company in the case of poor security measures. This leads to critical accidents. The well being of environment is compromised by these officials.  

Question 2: What is a Union of workers? 

Answer:

A workers union or an association is common in factories and workplaces, but possibly among other types of labor, say Domestic workers Unions. All these union leaders negotiate and bargain with employers to support its members. Issues include salary, working rules, regulations governing hiring, firing and promotion of employees, benefits and the safety of workplace.

Question 3: Can you explain the statement “clean environment is a public facility”?

Answer:

For the happiness of citizens, a clean environment is important. A public facility is highly important for peaceful life and survival. Impure or Polluted environments can mean increased levels of disease and health problems. Here It is also the cause of environmental degradation and natural resources. These resources, such as soil and water, are important biologically. So one must preserve it. 

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