Environment Protection Act, 1986
- This act has mainly come into force on 19 November 1986, which is the birth anniversary of the late Mrs.Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India. This act applies on the territory of India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- This Act is one of the most comprehensive legislation with a pretext for the protection and the improvement of the environment
- It mainly deals with the issue of protecting and improving the condition of an environment in our country. It also gives four definitions which contain the definition of environment, Environmental pollutant, Environmental pollution, Hazardous substance.
- The act consists of 4 chapters and 26 sections. This act provides the power to the central government to make rules and regulations regarding the protection of the environment.
- This act also lays down certain standards for the discharge of certain environmental pollutants.
- The constitution of India also provides the article for the protection of the environment i.e., under article 48A of the Indian constitution.
- Section 15 of the act provides the penalty as well as the rules, orders and also the regulations related to the environment.
- In MC Mehta v. Union of India the Supreme Court has issued the direction to control vehicular pollution. In this case, the Supreme Court of India has the power to make rules and regulations for the protection of the environment.
 (1998) 6 SCC 63
Environment Protection Rules – Coastal Zone Regulation
- Coastal zone is the transitional zone between the marine and the terrestrial coastal beaches, mudflats, mangroves etc.
- There are about 4800 billion tonnes of domestic waste, 65 million tonnes of solid waste, is generated every year which reaches the sea.
- According to clause (d) sub-rule (3) rule 5 of the environment rule 1986 the central government hereby declares that “the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers, and backwaters which are influenced by the tidal action up to 500m from the high tide line and the land between low tide line and the high tide line are referred as coastal regulation zone”, the setting up and expansion of industries, operations and process etc are restricted in coastal regulation zone.
- They are also divided into 4 categories. They have been classified as CRZ-1, CRZ-2, CRZ-3, and CRZ-4.
- The Eco Mark may be defined as the label given to an Environment-Friendly Products.
- They are issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
- Household and other consumer products which meet certain environmental criteria along with the quality requirements of the Indian Standards Institute for that product may be accredited and labelled under this scheme.
- The eco-mark notification may be issued by the ministry of environment and forests, the government of India.
- Till now, 18 notifications have been issued by the ministry of environment and forests on the different product on the different criteria.
- There are mainly sixteen products which are covered under the Eco Mark scheme. They are as follows- soaps and detergents, paper, food items, lubricating oils, packing materials, architectural paints and electronic goods, food additives, wood substitutes, cosmetics, aerosol propellants, plastic products, textiles, fire extinguisher and leather.
- Objectives of the Scheme:
- To provide an incentive for manufacturers and importers to reduce the adverse environmental impact of products.
- To reward genuine initiatives by companies to reduce the adverse environmental impact of their products.
- To assist consumers to become environmentally responsible in their daily lives by providing information to take account of environmental factors in their purchase decisions.
- To encourage citizens to purchase products which have less harmful environmental impacts.
- Ultimately to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the sustainable management of resources
Environment Impact Assessment
- It had mainly commenced in the 1960s, as a part of increasing the environmental awareness.
- An environmental assessment (EA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences i.e., positive and negative of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.
- The term “environmental impact assessment” (EIA) is usually used when it is applied to actual projects by individuals or the companies
- The term “strategic environmental assessment” (SEA) applies to policies, plans and programmes which are most often proposed by organs of state.
- It may be governed by rules of administrative procedure regarding public participation and documentation of decision making, and may also be subject to judicial review.
- The purpose of the environmental assessment is to ensure that the decision makers consider the impacts of the environment while deciding whether or not to proceed with a project.
- Environmental auditing may be defined as the management tool which is designed to provide information on the performance of the environment to the right people at the right time.
- Environment audit encompasses all kinds of activities which are related to the environmental measures of an organisation.
- There are many features also such as management tool, the aim of an environmental audit, systematic process, documentation, objective evolution, environmental performance etc.
- There are certain benefits of the environmental auditing such as- improves the efficiency of EMS, risk mitigation, meeting stakeholders expectations, reduction in operational inefficiency, employee awareness, helps management in decision making.
- EMS mainly stands for environmental management system which is a system which enables any organisation irrespective of their size, type and settings.
- It ensures compliance with the regulations and also brings continual improvement.
Public Participation in Environmental decision making
- Public participation is a fundamental and important aspect of much administrative and legislative decision making of environmental governance in democratic countries.
- The purpose of EIA is to inform the public of the proposed projects and its impacts. By informing the public the public will also take the informed decision regarding the protection of the environment.
- The potential benefits of Public participation are multifold as it can bring important information, innovative approaches and solutions and enhance public perception of plans and helps make projects viable.
- Public participation is an essential part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.
- But Public needs and grievances are not of concern to the state or project proponents. Accepting genuine public participation in the design and implementation of projects is normally perceived as a nuisance by decision-makers and investors. Adverse project impacts such as displacement, environmental destruction and consequent depression in quality of life amongst the affected fail to cause any distress to the expert decision makers
- Adverse project impacts such as displacement, environmental destruction and consequent depression in quality of life amongst the affected fail to cause any distress to the expert decision makers
- There are certain benefits of public participation such as- Process of decision-making and final decisions become more transparent and legitimate, helps prevent or and adverse environmental consequences of the decisions, PP generate more solutions and opinion to solving the problem, For government and business costs of the possible wrong decision, could reducing significantly
- The Indian experience with Environmental Impact Assessment began over 20 years back.
- There are various stages of EIA. They are as follows- screening, scoping, assessment, EIA request report, decision and monitoring.
- Environment assessment is the only weapon which leads to the sustainable development.
- Environment education should also be provided so that people should be aware of the protection of the environment.
- An effective public participation programme does not happen by accident, it can only be done by carefully planning it.
- Public participation can be done in various ways such as –media techniques, research techniques, political techniques and large group meetings.
- It is a system which has been made do that the information is to be provided in various fields such as researchers, academicians, policy planners, environmentalists, scientists, engineers and the general public.
- As on October 2016 it consists of 70 centres which are housed in reputed institutions out of which 30 centres dealing with “State of the Environment and Related Issues” and remaining 40 centres are mainly hosted by the environment-related governmental and non-governmental organisations/ institutes of professional excellence have thematic mandates, for instance, Renewable Energy, Pollution Control, Hazardous Substance Management etc.
- The benefit of this Scheme is that a decentralized comprehensive information network functions in the country to provide relevant and timely information to various users.
- It also provides interactive access to the environmental information electronically for each user whenever they want it.
- EIS would not only provide backup support for conducting the developed research in the field of the environment but it also provides a support system for decision making at National, State, local bodies.
- It also supports the various missions undertaken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate
- Its long-term objectives are as follows –
- To build up a repository and dissemination Centre in environmental science and engineering.,
- To support and promote research, development and innovation in environmental information technology, storage, retrieval and dissemination of environmental nature
- To gear up state-of-art technologies of information acquisition, processing
- Its short-term objectives are as follows –
- to provide national environmental information service relevant to present needs and capable of meeting the future needs of the users, originators, processors and disseminators of information
- to promote national and international cooperation and liaison for the exchange of environment-related information,
- to promote national and international cooperation and liaison for the exchange of environment-related information
- The public hearing has mainly come from the major amendment to environment impact assessment for the introduction of the public hearing as a part of assessment procedure to look after that the local public is also taking part in the assessment of the environment developmental activities.
- Public hearings are held as part of the public inquiry process. This provides interested parties with the opportunity to expand on written submissions and to discuss inquiry issues with Commissioners in a public forum.
- Any organisation or person can attend a hearing, either to speak to a submission or simply to observe the proceedings.
- All the decision of the cases should be done within 30 days of the proposal.
- If the impact assessment division decides to hold further hearing then it has to be published in at least 2 newspapers at least 30 days prior to the hearing.
- The recent amendment in the public hearing mainly means that hearings are to be conducted for which the notification is applied.
Regulation on Bio-Medical Waste
- Biomedical waste mainly means, which is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings, or animals or research activities pertaining thereto.
- Biomedical waste is any kind of waste containing infectious (or potentially infectious) materials
- Shree Prakash Javedkar has also now released new bio-medical waste management rules.
- Disposal of this kind of waste is an environmental concern, as many medical wastes are classified as infectious or biohazardous and could potentially lead to the spread of infectious disease.
- Biomedical waste must be properly managed and disposed of to protect the environment, general public and workers, especially health care and sanitation workers who are at risk of exposure to biomedical waste as an occupational hazard.
- Resource conservation and recovery act have also been made.
- Medical waste is primarily regulated by state environmental and health departments. EPA has not had authority, specifically for medical waste, since the Medical Waste Tracking Act (MWTA) of 1988 expired in 1991. It is important to contact your state environmental program first when disposing of medical waste. Contact your state environmental protection agency and your state health agency for more information regarding your state’s regulations on medical waste.