Introduction : Yesterday 5th June was the World Environment Day . People from more than 100 countries celebrate this day. Furthermore, the world environment day is run by the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP). Since the year 1973. Above all the main purpose of celebrating this day was to spread awareness. The awareness was about the conservation of our environment.
Before writing anything about it we should know what an environment actually means .The environment has been defined as that outer physical and biological system in which man and other organisms live as a whole. Human environment consists of both physical environment and biological environment. Physical environment covers land, water and air. Biological environment includes plants, animals and other organisms.
Environment is defined under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, â€˜Environmentâ€™ includes Water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between, water, air, land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, microorganisms and property.
The term environment has been derived from a French word “Environia” means to surround. Thus, etymologically environment means â€˜surrounding conditions, circumstances affecting people’s life.
Environment includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exist among and between water, air, land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property.
It includes the complex physical, chemical and biological factors surrounding an organism or an ecological community. Such factors act and interact with various species and organisms to affect their form, growth and survival. Any unfavourable alteration of this environment is called environmental pollution. Air, water, land, radiation and thermal are the common type of pollution.
Obviously, the environment comprises all entities, living and non-living, natural or man-made, external to oneself, and their interrelationships, which provide value, now or perhaps in the future, to humankind. Environmental concerns relate to their degradation through actions of humans.
So to protect the environment, apart from establishing and forming international laws, every country has enacted laws regarding environment protection, pollution control etc. In India, there are several acts for environment protection that says protection of environment is the duty of government.
The goals of the Environmental policy may be formulated in several ways – to protect human health, ensure viability of wild life, preservation of historic monuments, stopping further degradation of the environment etc.
Major Laws and legislations in environmental law
Here are some of the major international environmental laws passed in recent times.
Ramsar convention (1971)
This convention was initiated to push for greater conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
Stockholm Conference (1972)
It was the first major environmental conference and set the framework for discussions on the environment and the need for some form of regulation. The Stockholm declaration along with its 26 principles was formulated at this conference. This conference also marked the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme.
This convention was established to ensure that more steps were taken to preserve and protect the ozone layer.
This protocol is based on the idea of common but differentiated responsibilities. It placed higher responsibility on the developed countries to reduce emissions as they bore primary responsibility for the higher levels of emissions.
Some of the important legislations for environment protection are as follows:
The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (No. 19 of 2010) (NGT Act) has been enacted with the objectives to provide for establishment of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environment protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (the “Air Act”) is an act to provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution and for the establishment of Boards at the Central and State levels with a view to carrying out the aforesaid purposes.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 (the “Water Act”) has been enacted to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution and to maintain or restore wholesomeness of water in the country. It further provides for the establishment of Boards for the prevention and control of water pollution with a view to carrying out the aforesaid purposes. The Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants into water bodies beyond a given standard and lays down penalties for non-compliance. At the Centre, the Water Act has set up the CPCB which lays down standards for the prevention and control of water pollution. At the State level, SPCBs function under the direction of the CPCB and the State Government.
The Environment Protection Act, 1986
The Environment Protection Act, 1986 (the “Environment Act”) provides for the protection and improvement of the environment. The Environment Protection Act establishes the framework for studying, planning and implementing long-term requirements of environmental safety and laying down a system of speedy and adequate response to situations threatening the environment. It is an umbrella legislation designed to provide a framework for the coordination of central and state authorities established under the Water Act, 1974 and the Air Act. The term “environment” is understood in a very wide term under s 2(a) of the Environment Act. It includes water, air and land as well as the interrelationship which exists between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organisms and property.
The Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, etc.
Hazardous waste means any waste which, by reason of any of its physical, chemical, reactive, toxic, flammable, explosive or corrosive characteristics, causes danger or is likely to cause danger to health or environment, whether alone or when in contact with other wastes or substances.
In addition, there are many other laws relating to environment, namely –
The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 was enacted with the objective of effectively protecting the wild life of this country and to control poaching, smuggling and illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives. The Act was amended in January 2003 and punishment and the penalty for offences under the Act have been made more stringent. The Ministry has proposed further amendments in the law by introducing more rigid measures to strengthen the Act. The objective is to provide protection to the listed endangered flora and fauna and ecologically important protected areas.
The Forest Conservation Act, 1980
The Forest Conservation Act, 1980 was enacted to help conserve the country’s forests. It strictly restricts and regulates the de-reservation of forests or use of forest land for non-forest purposes without the prior approval of Central Government. To this end, the Act lays down the pre-requisites for the diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes.
Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 was enacted with the objectives to provide for damages to victims of an accident which occurs as a result of handling any hazardous substance. The Act applies to all owners associated with the production or handling of any hazardous chemicals.)
The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
The Biological Diversity Act 2002 was born out of India’s attempt to realise the objectives enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 1992 which recognises the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources. The Act aims at the conservation of biological resources and associated knowledge as well as facilitating access to them in a sustainable manner. The National Biodiversity Authority in Chennai has been established for the purposes of implementing the objects of the Act.
Coastal Regulation Zone Notification
The Ministry of Environment and Forests had issued the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification vide Notification no. S O. 19(E), dated January 06, 2011 with an objective to ensure livelihood security to the fishing communities and other local communities living in the coastal areas, to conserve and protect coastal stretches and to promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas and sea level rise due to global warming.
Moreover to also take various preventive measures to avert the effects of Global warming. Since we all know that Global warming is the root cause of the ruin of our environment. Therefore it is our duty to protect our environment. And stop all the exploitation that is destroying it. Because in the end, it is our basic need for our survival and our generations ahead.
The World Environment Day was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972, to commemorate the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The first World Environment Day was observed in 1974 in Spokane city, United States, with the theme “Only One Earth”. Since then it is observed every year with a specific theme. Every year the World Environment Day is celebrated by a different country that plays the host of the events. India had twice been the host of World Environment Day, both in 2011 and 2018 with the theme – Forests: Nature at Your Service and Beat Plastic Pollution respectively.
In India, the National Security Council has taken up the responsibility of the World Environment Day events. It has been managing campaigns for every consecutive year since 1999.
National Security Council (NSC) of India provides promotional material including badges of the environment day, banners, posters and informational booklets to the public and members. Every year over 500 government and non-government organizations including the municipalities and all, get benefited from the NSC material.
This year our neighbouring country Pakistan hosted World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) . This year’s observance of world environment day was on the theme of ‘ecosystem restoration’ and focused on re setting our relation with nature. It also marked the formal launch of the UN Decade On Ecosystem Restoration 2021- 2030.
World Environment Day is celebrated with a prime objective to make efforts conducive to retain the true form of the environment, without damaging it. Organizations support the WED by taking greener initiatives in offices.
Issues like carbon footprint, waste disposal, and deforestations, etc. are addressed and people commit to new methods conducive to the environment growth.
Guidelines are issued to manufacturing industries and other businesses instructing or advising them to adopt environment-friendly policies. Many businesses come forward and display their commitment towards a safe and healthy environment and to reduce any human impacts on it.
Any common person can also actively participate in World Environment Day by making a commitment to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Use alternative sources of energy, avoid overuse of resources and plant a sapling in your neighborhood. There are thousands of such activities that you can do on World Environment Day
Celebration of World Environment Day is essential to keep the people aware of the cause of environmental protection and commit for the same. It is a platform for the world to come together on a significant issue of environmental protection and make necessary plans.
In India, the concern for environmental protection has not only been raised to the status of fundamental law of the land, but it is also wedded with human rights approach and it is now well established that, it is the basic human right of every individual to live in pollution free environment with full human dignity.
It is high time that the general public, public entities, state and central government realize the damage, which our developmental process has made to the living environment.
For the success of the local government laws relating to the environment it is essential to create a sense of civic consciousness and public hygiene in the use of municipal services like roads, public places, drainage etc. Strict enforcement of the provisions of law also is needed. Law is a strong medium to compel the citizens to observe cleanliness and thereby to combat pollution. Environmental protection laws in India need a new orientation in the modern context.
As Paul Bigelow Sears said, “How far must suffering and misery go before we see that even in the day of vast cities and powerful machines, the good earth is our mother and that if we destroy her, we destroy ourselves”.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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