[Prelims Spotlight] Laws related to environment conservation in India

Laws related to environment conservation in India

1.Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981

  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 an Act of the Parliament of India to control and prevent air pollution in India
  • It was amended in 1987
  • The Government passed this Act in 1981 to clean up our air by controlling pollution.
  • It states that sources of air pollution such as 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 a prescribed level

Key Features

The Act specifically empowers State Government to designate air pollution areas and to prescribe the type of fuel to be used in these designated areas.

According to this Act, no person can operate certain types of industries including the asbestos, cement, fertilizer and petroleum industries without consent of the State Board.

The main objectives of the Act are as follows:

(a) To provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution

(b) To provide for the establishment of central and State Boards with a view to implement the Act(Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Board)

(c) To confer on the Boards the powers to implement the provisions of the Act and assign to the Boards functions relating to pollution

 

2.Environmental (Protection) Act of 1986

  • Environment Protection Act, 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India
  • In the wake of the Bhopal Tragedy, the Government of India enacted the Environment Protection Act of 1986 under Article 253 of the Constitution
  • Passed in March 1986, it came into force on 19 November 1986
  • The Act is an “umbrella” for legislations designed to provide a framework for Central Government, coordination of the activities of various central and state authorities established under previous Acts, such as the Water Act and the Air Act.
  • In this Act, main emphasis is given to “Environment”, defined to include water, air and land and the inter-relationships which exist among water, air and land and human beings and other

Objective of the Act

The purpose of the Act is to implement the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of 1972, in so far as they relate to the protection and improvement of the human environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property.

 

3.The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 17 July 2000

The rules are framed under the jurisdiction of Environment (Protection) Act.

Objectives and Key Features

  • These Rules set the deadlines for phasing out of various ODSs, besides regulating production, trade import and export of ODSs and the product containing ODS.
  • These Rules prohibit the use of CFCs in manufacturing various products beyond 1st January 2003 except in metered dose inhaler and for other medical purposes.
  • Similarly, use of halons is prohibited after 1st January 2001 except for essential use.
  • Other ODSs such as carbon tetrachloride and methylchoroform and CFC for metered dose inhalers can be used upto 1st January 2010.
  • Since HCFCs are used as interim substitute to replace CFC, these are allowed up to 1st January 2040.

 

4.The Energy Conservation Act of 2001

As a step towards improving energy efficiency, the Government of India has enacted the Energy Conservation Act in 2001.

Objective

The Energy Conservation Act, 2001 is the most important multi-sectoral legislation in India and is intended to promote efficient use of energy in India.

Key Features

The Act specifies energy consumption standards for equipment and appliances, prescribes energy consumption norms and standards for consumers, prescribes energy conservation building codes for commercial buildings and establishes a compliance mechanism for energy consumption norms and standards.

5.Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)

  • In order to implement the various provisions of the EC Act, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) was operationalised with effect from 1st March, 2002. The EC Act provides a legal framework for energy efficiency initiatives in the country. The Act has mandatory as well as promotional initiatives.
  • The Bureau is spearheading the task of improving the energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy through the regulatory and promotional mechanism. The primary objective of BEE is to reduce energy intensity in the Indian economy.
  • This is to be demonstrated by providing policy framework as well as through public-private partnership.

 

6.Forest Conservation Act of 1980

Background

First Forest Act was enacted in 1927.

Alarmed at India’s rapid deforestation and resulting environmental degradation, Centre Government enacted the Forest (Conservation) Act in1980.

Objective

It was enacted to consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produce and the duty livable on timber and other forest produce.

Key Features

  • Under the provisions of this Act, prior approval of the Central Government is required for diversion of forestlands for non-forest purposes.
  • Forest officers and their staff administer the Forest Act.
  • An Advisory Committee constituted under the Act advises the Centre on these approvals.
  • The Act deals with the four categories of the forests, namely reserved forests, village forests, protected forests and private forests.

 

7.The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010

Background

During the Rio de Janeiro summit of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992, India vowed the participating states to provide judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the pollutants and other environmental damage.

Key Features

It was enacted under India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

The specialized architecture of the NGT will facilitate fast track resolution of environmental cases and provide a boost to the implementation of many sustainable development measures.

NGT is mandated to dispose the cases within six months of their respective appeals.

Enabling Provision

It is an Act of the Parliament of India which enable the creation of NGT to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.

Members

The sanctioned strength of the tribunal is currently 10 expert members and 10 judicial members although the act allows for up to 20 of each.

The Chairman of the tribunal who is the administrative head of the tribunal also serves as a judicial member.

Every bench of the tribunal must consist of at least one expert member and one judicial member.

The Chairman of the tribunal is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Jurisdiction

The Tribunal has Original Jurisdiction on matters of “substantial question relating to environment” (i.e. a community at large is affected, damage to public health at broader level) & “damage to environment due to specific activity” (such as pollution).

The term “substantial” is not clearly defined in the act.

 

8.The Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications

Background

The coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and back waters which are influenced by tidal action are declared “Coastal Regulation Zone” (CRZ) in 1991.

CRZ notifications

India has created institutional mechanisms such as National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) for enforcement and monitoring of the CRZ Notification.

These authorities have been delegated powers under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 to take various measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas.

Key Features

Under this coastal areas have been classified as CRZ-1, CRZ-2, CRZ-3, CRZ-4. And the same they retained for CRZ in 2003 notifications as well.

CRZ-1: these are ecologically sensitive areas these are essential in maintaining the ecosystem of the coast. They lie between low and high tide line. Exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt are permitted

CRZ-2: these areas form up to the shoreline of the coast. Unauthorised structures are not allowed to construct in this zone.

CRZ-3: rural and urban localities which fall outside the 1 and 2. Only certain activities related to agriculture even some public facilities are allowed in this zone

CRZ-4: this lies in the aquatic area up to territorial limits. Fishing and allied activities are permitted in this zone. Solid waste should be let off in this zone.

9.Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Background

In 1972, Parliament enacted the Wild Life Act (Protection) Act.

Objective

The Wild Life Act provides for

  1. state wildlife advisory boards,
  2. regulations for hunting wild animals and birds,
  3. establishment of sanctuaries and national parks, tiger reserves
  4. regulations for trade in wild animals, animal products and trophies, and
  5. judicially imposed penalties for violating the Act.

Key Features

  • Harming endangered species listed in Schedule 1 of the Act is prohibited throughout India.
  • Hunting species, like those requiring special protection (Schedule II), big game (Schedule III), and small game (Schedule IV), is regulated through licensing.
  • A few species classified as vermin (Schedule V), may be hunted without restrictions.
  • Wildlife wardens and their staff administer the act.
  • An amendment to the Act in 1982, introduced a provision permitting the capture and transportation of wild animals for the scientific management of animal population.

 

10.Biological Diversity Act, 2002

Background

The Biological Diversity Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2000 and was passed in 2002.

Objective:

India’s richness in biological resources and indigenous knowledge relating to them is well recognized

The legislation aims at regulating access to biological resources so as to ensure equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use

Key Features

  • The main intent of this legislation is to protect India’s rich biodiversity and associated knowledge against their use by foreign individuals and organizations without sharing the benefits arising out of such use, and to check biopiracy.
  • This bill seeks to check biopiracy, protect biological diversity and local growers through a three-tier structure of central and state boards and local committees.
  • The Act provides for setting up of a National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) in local bodies. The NBA will enjoy the power of a civil court.
  • BMCs promote conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biodiversity.
  • NBA and SBB are required to consult BMCs in decisions relating to use of biological resources.
  • All foreign nationals or organizations require prior approval of NBA for obtaining biological resources and associated knowledge for any use.
  • Indian individuals/entities require approval of NBA for transferring results of research with respect to any biological resources to foreign nationals/organizations.

11.Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999

Objective

A rule notified in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (viii) of Sub Section (2) of Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) with the objective to regulate the manufacture and use of recycled plastics, carry bags and containers;

Key Features

  1. Thickness of the carry bags made of virgin plastics or recycled plastics shall not be less than 20 microns.
  2. Carry bags and containers made of virgin plastic shall be in natural shade or white.
  3. Carry bags and containers made of recycled plastic and used for purposes other than storing and packaging food stuffs shall be manufactured using pigments and colorants as per IS:9833:1981 entitled “List of Pigments and Colorants” for use in Plastics in contact with food stuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water.
  4. Recycling of plastics shall be under taken strictly in accordance with the Bureau of Indian Standards specifications IS:14534:1988 entitled “The Guidelines for Recycling of Plastics”.
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26 Apr, 2019

Civilsdaily your efforts are commendable. Please provide more environment related spotlights. Eagerly waiting for them. Thank you in advance. Kudos for your efforts.