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Policy Making For Environmental Law Agents For Framework Development And Implementation

This article explores the Environmental policy. Environmental Policy refers to Any action taken by a government, business, or other public or private institution regarding how human activity affects the environment is referred to as environmental policy, especially if it aims to prevent or lessen adverse consequences on ecosystems.

Environmental policies are required because organizational decision-making typically does not take environmental principles into account. That deletion was made for two key reasons. Environmental consequences are first and foremost economic externalities. The repercussions of pollution are typically not felt by the polluter; they frequently happen elsewhere or in the future. Second, due to the widespread belief that natural resources are always available, their prices are virtually always too low.

This article also discusses the various policies made by the government and objective and principle of environmental policy including the legal framework. This paper focuses on the process of policy making for environmental law agents, with an emphasis on the development and implementation of frameworks. In an era marked by rapid industrialization and developmental activities, the natural environment is increasingly at risk. Recognizing this global issue, international organizations and conferences have urged governments to take effective measures to protect the environment and human health while pursuing development goals.

Environmental policy refers to the actions implemented by governments, corporations, and other public or private entities to address the environmental impacts of human activities. The purpose of these policies is to prevent or reduce the adverse effects of human actions on ecosystems.

The necessity for environmental policies arises from the fact that environmental considerations are often overlooked in organizational decision-making processes. There are two primary reasons for this oversight. Firstly, environmental consequences are often regarded as economic externalities. Polluters frequently do not bear the full costs of their activities, as the negative effects may be experienced elsewhere or in the future. Secondly, natural resources are often undervalued due to the assumption that they are infinite in availability.

These factors combine to create what ecologist Garrett Hardin referred to as "the tragedy of the commons" in 1968.

The concept of the tragedy of the commons is based on viewing natural resources as a shared commons that benefits everyone. However, it is rational for individuals to exploit the shared resource without considering its limitations. This self-interested behavior ultimately leads to the depletion of the limited resource, which is not in the best interest of anyone. Despite the long-term consequences of resource depletion, individuals may continue exploiting the commons because they benefit in the short term, while the community bears the long-term impacts.

Due to the inadequate incentives for individuals to use shared resources sustainably, government intervention becomes necessary for the protection of the commons. Environmental policies are crucial in regulating and managing human activities to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and the mitigation of environmental harm. By implementing appropriate policies, governments can incentivize responsible behavior, enforce regulations, promote conservation, and encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly practices.

In conclusion, environmental policies are vital for addressing the adverse consequences of human activities on the environment. They aim to counteract the tendency to overlook environmental values in decision-making processes and provide a framework for sustainable resource management. By doing so, environmental policies help prevent the tragedy of the commons and promote the long-term well-being of both ecosystems and society as a whole.

Research Methodology
This research paper is of descriptive nature and research performed and written in this paper of secondary source. This paper contains deep analysis of environmental policies. Secondary sources of information consist of newspapers, journals and websites etc .

Literature Review
Environmental law advocates in Chandigarh have presented their views on the environment as stated that " With every passing day, we are reading about more horrifying and alarming status about our environment. These statuses are an eye-opener for all of us to start acting now or bear the cost of ignoring it. There can be multiple issues before the right authority to take necessary action can be done with the help of environmental lawyers.

Protecting the environment, preserving natural resources, reducing climate change, maintaining public health, and fostering sustainable development all depend on environmental legislation. They offer a framework for lawful conduct, direct decision-making, and make people and organizations liable for their environmental effects. Societies can work toward a future that is more robust and sustainable by upholding environmental regulations.

Environmental protection-related public policies have existed since prehistoric times. The first sewers were built in Mohenjo-Daro (Indus, or Harappan culture), which dates back 4,500 years, and in Rome (old Roman civilization), which dates back 2,700 years. Environmental laws were implemented by other civilizations.

Around 2,300 years ago, the city-states of ancient Greece established rules that managed the harvesting of forests, and by 1000 ce, medieval European civilizations had built hunting preserves that restricted the harvesting of game and lumber to the aristocracy and so effectively prevented overexploitation. During the 17th century, the city of Paris constructed the first extensive sewer system in Europe.

As the effects of industrialization and urbanization grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and threatened human health, governments added additional rules and regulations for urban hygiene, sewage, sanitation, and housing as well as the first laws devoted to protecting natural areas and wildlife, such as the establishment of Yellowstone National Park as the first national park in the world in 1872. Rich people and private groups like the National Audubon Society (1905) and the Sierra Club (1892) donated to the cause of protecting animals and the environment.

In the 1950s and 1960s, people first became aware of the harmful impacts of pollution, industrial chemical use, and pesticide use in agriculture. The appearance of the Minamata disease in Japan in 1956, which was caused by mercury leaks from nearby chemical plants, and the release of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962, which highlighted the dangers of pollution, raised public awareness of environmental issues and led to detailed regulatory systems in many industrialized countries. Governments either prohibited the use of dangerous substances or set maximum emission limits for specific compounds in these regulations to provide a minimum degree of environmental quality.

Significant environmental problems nevertheless exist despite ongoing efforts, frequently as a result of different nonpoint (diffuse) sources of pollution. These sources include personal vehicle emissions as well as runoff from small farms that include pesticides and fertilizers, both of which cause contamination of the air and water. Even if each individual source might not pose a serious threat, the combined pollution from various sources may be more harmful than the legally required minimum levels for the quality of the environment. Chronic environmental problems are also a result of cause-and-effect systems' growing complexity.

The harmful impacts of acid rain in the 1980s provided a clear illustration of how the geographical separation of environmental contamination's origins and effects is possible. The frightening reality that the Earth's natural resources are being harmed and depleted has been brought to light by various types of pollution.

Since the late 1980s, the concept of sustainable development has played a crucial role in environmental policymaking. It entails promoting economic growth while simultaneously safeguarding the quality of the environment for future generations. Recognizing that nature and natural resources are important economic drivers, environmental policy has extended beyond the sole responsibility of governments.

Private industries and nongovernmental organizations have increasingly embraced environmental stewardship and taken on greater environmental responsibility. Moreover, this concept emphasizes the significance of individual and community involvement in effectively implementing environmental policies.

In conclusion, despite ongoing efforts, significant environmental issues persist due to nonpoint sources of pollution and the intricate nature of cause-and-effect systems. The consequences of pollution have underscored the urgent need to address the depletion and damage of the Earth's natural resources. Sustainable development has emerged as a key principle in environmental policymaking, prompting not only governmental action but also private industry and community engagement in ensuring the effective protection of the environment for present and future generations.

National Environment Policy 2006
One of the first initiatives by the Government of India to create a policy framework for environmental conservation was the 1992 National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development. The National Forest Policy of 1988 and the Policy Statement for Pollution Abatement of 1992 are two more policy frameworks that support sound environmental management on a national scale.

However, it was believed that the guiding principles of each of these publications should be combined to create a cohesive national environmental plan. The consequence was the development of the National Environment Policy, which was then approved by the Union Cabinet on May 18, 2006.

Rather of replacing earlier policies, the National Environment Policy, 2006 (NEP, 2006) builds upon them. According to Articles 48A and 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution and supported by a court's interpretation of Article 21, the NEP, 2006 is a response to India's commitment as a country to a clean environment. According to NEP (2006), the term "environment" is defined as "any entities, natural or constructed, external to oneself, and their interrelationships that bring value to humankind today or in the future."

Objectives of National environment policy
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, formulated the National Environment Policy in 2006, taking into consideration the following goals:
  1. Critical Environmental Resource Conservation:
    The policy aims to preserve and protect crucial ecological systems and resources, including natural and man-made heritage, which are vital for sustaining life, livelihoods, economic growth, and overall human well-being.
  2. Intragenerational Equity:
    Poor People's Livelihood Security: The policy seeks to ensure equal access to and quality of environmental resources for all sections of society. It particularly emphasizes providing secure access to environmental resources for disadvantaged populations who heavily rely on these resources for their survival.
  3. Equity across Generations:
    The policy aims to ensure that environmental resources are managed judiciously to meet the needs and aspirations of both present and future generations.
  4. Inclusion of Environmental Issues in Economic and Social Development:
    The policy emphasizes the integration of environmental considerations into strategies, plans, programs, and projects related to economic and social development.
  5. Environmental Resource Efficiency:
    The policy aims to promote the efficient use of environmental resources by reducing their consumption per unit of economic production. This approach helps minimize negative environmental impacts.
  6. Environmental Management:
    The policy advocates for the application of good governance principles, such as transparency, rationality, accountability, time and cost reduction, participation, and regulatory independence, in managing and regulating the usage of environmental resources.
  7. Resource Enhancement for Environmental Conservation:
    The policy emphasizes the need to increase resource flows for environmental protection. This includes financial resources, technological expertise, managerial skills, traditional knowledge, and social capital. Achieving this requires collaboration and partnerships among various stakeholders, including local communities, public agencies, academics, and researchers.

In conclusion, the National Environment Policy of 2006, developed by the MoEF in India, aims to address various environmental challenges by focusing on resource conservation, equity, inclusion, efficiency, management, and enhancement. By incorporating these goals into policy formulation and implementation, the policy strives to ensure sustainable development and the well-being of present and future generations while safeguarding the environment.

Principles of National Environment Policy
The National Environmental Policy of 2006 incorporates fourteen guiding principles for environmental protection and conservation.
These principles are as follows:
  1. The Right to Development:
    Both present and future generations have the right to development, which must be pursued while ensuring environmental safeguards. A healthy environment is essential for any form of development.
  2. The Precautionary Approach:
    When scientific evidence about the environmental impacts of a developmental activity is uncertain or lacking, precautionary measures must be taken to prevent potential harm.
  3. Economic Efficiency:
    Economic efficiency leads to increased environmental benefits. The policy recommends conducting a comprehensive economic valuation of natural resources and ecosystem services to promote sustainable development.
  4. Polluter Pays:
    Those responsible for environmental degradation should bear the costs of their actions. This principle emphasizes that the polluter should incur the expenses associated with externalities caused by their activities.
  5. Entities with 'Incomparable' Values:
    Resources and heritage with unique value, such as distinct landscapes or iconic monuments, cannot be replaced. Economic estimates should not be applied in such cases, and priority should be given to their protection and conservation.
  6. Strict Liability:
    Even if no violation of law or duty has occurred, a person or company causing harm to others should be held liable and obligated to compensate for the damage caused.
  7. The Doctrine of Public Trust:
    The State acts as a trustee of the country's natural resource wealth, highlighting the responsibility to protect and preserve these resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
  8. Decentralization:
    Local environmental issues require local solutions. The policy supports the transfer of powers from central authorities to state and local authorities to enable effective and sustainable solutions to environmental concerns.
  9. Incorporation:
    Environmental considerations should be integrated into all sectoral policymaking. Improved coordination among central, state, and local authorities is necessary to achieve sustainable development goals.
  10. Legal Liability:
    Individuals or entities that harm the environment should be held accountable through legal processes and face appropriate penalties. This principle reinforces the concept of the polluter paying for their actions.
  11. Fault-Based Liability:
    Individuals or entities may face sanctions for non-compliance with environmental regulations. Instances where failure to meet environmental standards occurs, such as inadequate chimney heights, can lead to accountability and penalties.

Legal Framework
In order to ensure compliance with policy and legislative requirements and to incorporate relevant measures into project design and implementation, a thorough review of environmental resources and planning legislation and regulations is necessary. This review includes procedures and measures to be followed before, during, and after the development of a project. In the case of the proposed construction site located between two conservation areas, specific conservation zones have been designated within the marine reserve to regulate user activities.

India has enacted various environmental legislation since gaining independence, which has played a significant role in environmental conservation.

The following Acts were enacted to address specific aspects of environmental protection, along with their respective years of enactment:
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
  • Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  • Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989
  • Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 1994
  • National Environment Tribunals Act, 1995
  • National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997
  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 (supersession of 1994 Notification)
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
The Environment Protection Act
These Acts cover a wide range of environmental issues and provide a legal framework for environmental protection, pollution control, biodiversity conservation, environmental impact assessments, and the establishment of environmental tribunals and appellate authorities.

The Department of the Environment was established under the Environmental Protection Act to monitor and enforce the Act's provisions and regulations related to environmental protection, pollution control, natural resource conservation, and environmental impact assessment (EIA). The Act grants the Department and the Ministry of Tourism broad powers and responsibilities in assessing water pollution, coordinating waste discharge activities, licensing activities that may cause water pollution, registering pollution sources, and conducting research on water pollution.

Under the Act, the Department has the authority to establish standards for pollutant discharge or emissions into the environment and formulate environmental codes of practice for various developmental activities. No person, installation, factory, or facility is allowed to release pollutants or contaminants into the atmosphere or environment above permitted levels without specific approval from the Department. Records of pollutants discharged into the environment must be kept and reported to the Department by those emitting air pollutants.

The Environment (Protection) Act 1986
The Act also prohibits the extraction, handling, or conveyance of materials that may result in airborne dust without taking reasonable precautions to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne. It further mandates that anyone using land, water resources, or other natural resources must protect the environment from pollution, damage, or contamination caused by harmful substances, and prohibits the emission, import, export, discharge, deposit, disposal, or dumping of any waste that could contaminate water resources or harm marine life.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was established by the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 and later given additional powers and responsibilities under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981.

As a statutory body, the CPCB is responsible for monitoring and managing environmental pollution in India. It supports the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in implementing the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 by providing technical assistance.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, as per the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006, requires a thorough analysis of development projects with potential significant environmental impacts. The assessment involves the evaluation of potential harm and the implementation of mitigation measures to address environmental repercussions in advance. Local residents in the project area are involved in the EIA process, particularly if the project affects the local community socioeconomically.

The Forest (Conservation of Mangrove) Regulations aim to protect all mangroves, allowing for their removal only under specific circumstances and after a thorough evaluation by multiple agencies. Forest Reserves, which may include mangroves, littoral forests, and aquatic bodies, are established under these regulations, although specific provisions for littoral forests are not mentioned.

The Wildlife Protection Act regulates the conservation and utilization of protected species. It grants the Forest Department the authority to create laws regarding the management of endangered flora and wildlife species. The Act requires approval from the Forest Department for keeping endangered species in captivity, and it provides protection to all CITES-listed endangered species in Belize.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was established by the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 as a specialized court that handles all environmental cases. The NGT has a Principal Bench in Delhi and four zonal benches located in Pune, Kolkata, Bhopal, and Chennai, with three circuit benches in Shimla, Shillong, and Jodhpur. Its establishment has been instrumental in ensuring early judicial intervention in development projects and balancing economic progress with environmental protection.

It should be noted that the Indian government has explored the consolidation of existing environmental legislation by merging multiple Acts and proposing newer, more comprehensive legislation as of July 2015.

The preservation and protection of a clean and healthy environment are essential for the well-being of all living beings. To achieve this, numerous legislations have been enacted. This is a highly sensitive topic, highlighting the urgent need to safeguard and conserve the natural environment. Furthermore, public awareness and engagement regarding environmental issues play a pivotal role in developing a robust protective regime.

In order to effectively preserve the natural environment, it is crucial to regularly review and amend environmental laws in response to changing global conditions. Embracing the concept of sustainable development is essential to achieve the goal of environmental conservation. Additionally, it is imperative to explore alternative sources of energy that reduce reliance on limited resources while prioritizing environmental friendliness.

The Earth's environment is undergoing significant changes, leading to an increase in natural calamities. It is crucial to address this issue seriously and ensure the proper implementation of environmental laws to prevent further harm and promote a healthy and safe environment for all. This article underscores the importance of comprehensive actions, sustainable practices, and correct implementation of laws to safeguard the environment and ensure a better future for current and upcoming generations.

  1. Bueren, E. van (2023, June 1). environmental policy. Encyclopedia Britannica. (7 July 2023, 6 PM)
  2. Ayee, J. R. A. (1998). The Formulation and Implementation of Environmental Policy in Ghana. Africa Development / Afrique et D�veloppement, 23(2), 99�119. (7 July 2023, 10:30 PM)
  3. Caldwell, L. K. (1998). The National Environmental Policy Act: an agenda for the future. Indiana University Press. (11th July 2023, 8PM)
  4. Dreyfus, D. A., & Ingram, H. M. (1976). The National Environmental Policy Act: a view of intent and practice. Nat. Resources J., 16, 243. (10th July 2023, 5PM)
  5. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Australian Government, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water) < (12 July 2023, 10 PM)
Written By: Renuka Tiwari, 3rd year - Amity law school, Noida

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