Environment: Where it lies in Indian Laws?

Environment Protection Act provides the framework for the protection of the environment

The Environment Post : The environment is an integral part of our lives, and its protection is crucial for the well-being of present and future generations. In India, environmental protection is governed by various laws and regulations that aim to conserve natural resources and ensure sustainable development. One of the key environmental laws in India is the Environment Protection Act (EPA) of 1986, which provides the framework for the protection and improvement of the environment. The EPA empowers the central government to take measures to protect and improve the quality of air, water, and soil, and to prevent and control pollution. Under the EPA, the central government has established the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), which is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies and programs related to environmental protection and sustainable development. The MoEFCC is also responsible for the management of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and other protected areas. In addition to the EPA, several other laws and regulations govern environmental protection in India. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 are two such laws that aim to prevent and control pollution of water and air, respectively. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is another important institution established by the government to ensure environmental protection in India. The NGT is a specialized court that handles cases related to environmental issues and provides speedy and effective justice in matters related to environmental protection. Apart from the laws and regulations, the Indian Constitution also recognizes the right to a healthy environment as a fundamental right under Article 21, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty. The Supreme Court of India has also interpreted Article 21 to include the right to a healthy environment, and has taken several steps to protect and preserve the environment. One such landmark decision by the Supreme Court was the M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India case in 1986, which resulted in the closure of several polluting industries in Delhi. The case set a precedent for the court’s proactive approach towards environmental protection and paved the way for several other environmental cases to be heard by the court.

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011: This notification regulates activities along the country’s coastline to protect the coastal environment and the livelihoods of coastal communities. The notification sets restrictions on the construction of buildings and other structures in the CRZ, prohibits activities that are harmful to the coastal environment, and promotes sustainable coastal development. The National Biodiversity Act, 2002: This law provides for the conservation and sustainable use of India’s biological resources and associated knowledge. The law mandates the establishment of a National Biodiversity Authority to regulate access to biological resources and associated knowledge, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. The National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF): The NCEF was established in 2010 as a dedicated fund to finance clean energy projects in India. The fund is used to finance research and development of clean energy technologies, promote energy efficiency, and support the deployment of renewable energy projects.

In conclusion, environmental protection is a crucial issue for India, given the country’s population, economy, and biodiversity. The government has taken several steps to protect the environment through laws, regulations, and institutions, and the judiciary has also played an important role in ensuring environmental protection. However, more needs to be done to address the challenges of environmental degradation, climate change, and sustainable development, and to ensure a healthy environment for present and future generations.

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