Date : 31-07-2018 17:26
INTRODUCTION: Environment surrounds us, it starts from the very air we breathe, the water that we drink and the land on which we live in. It is unfortunate that humans have taken our environment for granted for so long that now it’s after effects are interfering with our day to day life. The environment used to have a cycle according to which seasons changed, but it has been disrupted by our activities to an extent that we encounter rains in most unexpected seasons and sometimes no rain at all forcing the poor farmers to commit suicide due to debts as a result of the failure of their crops.
But thankfully the world is more conscious and polite towards addressing environmental change developing new laws and policies in order to preserve the same. Awareness is being created by various governmental as well as individual organizations as to the protection of the environment by changing the way we live towards sustainable development. The term sustainable development means to define a way of living that fulfills our present needs without having to comprise the needs of future generation.
INDIAN LAWS ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: India despite being a developing country has made some remarkable legislation as to ensure the protection of our depleting environment. Apart from the legislation the judiciary and the apex court of India has played a major role in defining terms and standards for coexisting without damaging the natural environment. Apex court of the country in the landmark judgment of NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN vs UNION OF INDIA for the very first time sought to create a balance between the right to development and environment. Some important laws relating to environmental protection are mentioned below-
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT, 1986: under this act, the central government is empowered to take measures towards protecting our environment. It may set specific standards for persons involved in activities which may cause damage to the environment. Stringent penalties have been set out in order to ensure the compliance. This act also enlarges the scope of the definition of environment to even cover microorganisms under its ambit.
WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, 1972: his act mainly focuses on preserving unauthorized hunting, poaching for skin and bones, smuggling etc. and again there are penalties for non-compliance.
THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL ACT, 2010: seeing that the judiciary was already burdened with thousands of cases, a whole new stream of tribunals were set up for dealing specifically with environmental related issues. They were made for speedy disposal of such cases.
THE BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, 2002: This act aims towards conserving biological resources and provides a way of using them sustainably.
THE AIR(PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1981: to deal with the increasing air pollution due to motor vehicles and industries air act specifically provided up for setting up of air pollution control board to look over the activities of the corporations. To make rules and set up standards in order to minimize the problem of increasing air pollution. The boards have been set up both at Centre and state level to overcome the problems at grass root level.
THE WATER (PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1974: this was the very first legislation which was passed by the government in the direction of environmental welfare. At that time industrialization was at its peak and due to the discharge of wastes into water bodies was contaminating water for irrigation or consumption purposes.
Therefore in order to combat this problem pollution control boards were set up and given the power to test, record and research the quality of water from any river, canal or stream. For infringement of the provisions of the act and the rules thereunder, anybody or corporation is subjected to fine or imprisonment or both to ensure strict compliance.