Environmental Protection Laws And Sustainable Development In India: Analyzing The Effectiveness Of Environmental Laws And Policies
Environment is the most prestigious asset of the planet Earth, If we do not
conserve the Environment with respective safeguards, It will soon lead us to a
precarious situation. Numerous legislations are framed with respect to it but we
must be focusing on the effectiveness of the environmental laws and policies and
we must propose strategies for its sustainable development and conservation.
It is a basic human tendency to care about the encircling habitat and humans
have an alluring approach to care for the environment. The environment entirely
presents to the human race, A comfortable blanket of land, air, and water to
sustain in. The elements present in the delightful environment are insensate
mostly and have to be dependent to be cared for.
It is our accountability to manage and care for what the almighty has provided
us with. Environment plays an essential role in healthy living and the existence
of life on planet Earth. Earth is the abode for various living species and we
are all dependent on the Mother Nature for food, air, water, and other needs.
Therefore, it is integral for every individual to save and conserve our
Environmental law is an integral part of any government agency. It includes a
series of laws and regulations related to water quality, air quality, and other
environmental aspects. The success of environmental legislation mainly depends
on how they are implemented. Legislation is also a valuable tool to educate
people about their responsibility to maintain a healthy environment.
Environmental law in India is based on principles of environmental law and
focuses on the management of certain natural resources such as minerals,
forests, and fisheries.
Environmental law in India directly reflects the provisions of the Constitution.
The need to protect and maintain the environment and make sustainable use of
natural resources is reflected in India's constitutional framework and India's
The Government effectively has proposed different legislations but at the end of
the day, It is the humans who need to come forward to inculcate in their daily
lives a longing to care for the environment. Humans need to come together as a
whole and make sure that the legislations that are enacted are put to work
because the environment is greatly affected by the deeds of the human race and
is greatly at risk.
If we talk about climate change, India is now the world's third-largest emitter
of greenhouse gases after China and the United States. India to its best ability
has imposed laws to work for the efficacy of these laws. India spiritually and
philosophically has imparted in its culture the protection of rivers.
As we are all aware of the fact that the most famous religion of India, Hinduism
preaches love and devotion to rivers, Hindus efficiently pray to rivers and
consider them as gods, But on the other hand Rivers are the most prone to become
dumpy yards of trash after Indians celebrate certain festivals. Certain pure and
pious rivers turn into a pungent amalgamation of garbage, which is most
certainly not what India wants to represent in its sizeable heritage.
A lot of tourist attraction points greatly invite pilgrims from all over the
world get to see the bad representation of sanitation in India. The Educated
masses try to spread as much awareness as possible but things take time to be
put in place.
Pollution is another turmoil in the long run that we need to save our future
generations from. Sustainable measures are the need of the hour that will
perpetually suffice the need for a cleaner environment. The mass Industrial
development that has contributed to large commercial profits has largely emitted
fumes of pollutants that have degraded the idiosyncrasy of the way of life.
The most beautiful asset of any country is all the humans working as a whole for
different measures and contributing something or the other for a greater cause,
Different agendas, slogans, and awareness programs are put in motion by the
citizens of the country now and then which further encapsulates and promotes the
idea of sustenance. Not abiding by Environmental laws should become penal in
nature. Caring for the Environment has become vogueish and various conventions
and treaties are being proposed in the same respect on the global forum.
Activists who devotionally talk about the conservation of the Environment are
largely appreciated and lauded. The Ministry of Environment was established in
India in 1980 to ensure a healthy environment in the country. Later, this became
the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985. The Environmental Protection
Act (EPA) of 1986 came into effect shortly after the Bhopal Gas tragedy and is
considered protective legislation because it filled many gaps in existing
legislation. CNG became a mandate in Delhi recently.
Countries globally have now started to administer the fact that something
immediately needs to be done to bring about awareness for the protection of the
environment. The basic human right of a person is to live in a clean
environment, Laws are somewhat a powerful measure to bring about a change but it
also further needs a positive thumbs up from the masses.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was set up in 1985 and is now the
highest administrative body to oversee and safeguard environmental protection
and establish a legal and regulatory framework for this purpose. Several
environmental laws have been enacted since the 1970s.
The laws in India are not very strict; however, water and air pollution is a
major problem as harmful substances are dumped into water bodies, and harmful
emissions are largely unabated in India. The laws governing these activities
have not been updated since they were first enacted in the mid-1970s and 1980s.
These laws provide for water/groundwater use permits/permits, compliance with
wastewater and discharge standards, and prohibition of polluting water
There are several factors such as poor coordination among government agencies,
weak institutional capacity, lack of access to proper information, corruption,
and stifled civic engagement are key factors contributing to inefficiency and
poor enforcement of environmental regulations.
We used to hardly care for the environment but now it has become mandatory to
abide by environmental regulations. As India gained independence and our economy
started growing, there was a need to enact legislations that were meant to
protect the natural environment and its various components, be it air, water,
forests, wildlife, biodiversity, etc. More importantly, since India had started
becoming a signatory to various international environmental conventions, it was
obligatory that we protected our environment back home.
It is pertinent to note that from time to time various amendments have been made
to the environmental laws in line with the changing societal and business
requirements. These regulations are not meant to be crumpled and become
complicated but to have an easy holdover. Caring about the planet has become a
mainstream thing and it is good that way. Countries like the USA have stringent
applications of Environmental Laws.
India has largely been inspired by developed countries by their attributes of
caring for nature through various regulations and measures. Environmental Laws
are very integral to be preserved as they are a form of self-certification that
comes with accountability that we provide ourselves with.
Those examining the effectiveness of India's environmental laws are often
troubled by its "implementation curse". While the legislature has time and again
promulgated laws and laid down extensive guidelines to ensure the protection of
the environment from capitalistic exploitation. To further accentuate the
regulations, measures should be adapted to provide for sustainable development
for future generations.
A particular way of looking also contributes to what we infer from the
safeguards that are being crafted. Many will say that Indian Government in its
best capacity is inculcating measures to conserve the environment however, many
will deter the fact that steps are not being taken at all, All depends on the
amount of optimism and accountability people have. Environmental Laws have
greatly developed from its prior state but it still is not enough. There are
three main entities of Environmental Laws.
Water and air pollution is a major concern as dumping hazardous materials in
water bodies, and hazardous emissions have been for the most part unmitigated in
India. Laws regulating these activities haven't been updated since they were
first formulated in the mid-1970s and 1980s.
These laws regulate water/groundwater use consents/permits, compliance with
effluent and emission discharge standards, and prohibit pollution of water
resources. Environmental Laws need immediate amendments and are needed to be
catered to according to the new times.
As we already know that India being rich in nature and other cultural aspects
has often been plundered of all its resources, often by colonies and rulers,
Despite that India has strongly emerged as a cautious and conscious advocate for
the need of proper regulations with respect to the Environment and has
channelized to set an example on the global forum.
There are various important and notable Environmental activists in India who are
unheard of because of the lack of representation of them globally. India being
the cultural hub has contributed to many such environmentalists, Some are namely
Vandana Shiva, Sunderlal Bahuguna, SugathaKumari, Sunita Narain and Jadav
The thing that we need to learn from other countries is stricter implementations
of Environmental Laws that are largely Penal and penalty-driven. India being the
largest population of the world contributes to large emittance of waste.
The new committee has been drafting a new law to replace the 3 main existing
Acts: Air, Water, and Environment Protection. And it's doing so under strict
confidentiality � away from the public eye. The goal is to consolidate and
streamline environmental laws to prevent overlaps and conflicts. Yet whatever
new elements will be added are tightly under wraps.
Our Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has during various events represented India
globally for the climate projects for instance the 021 UN Climate Change
Conference (COP26). Even large companies with the help of branding have
initiated to provide sustainable material in their products for instance paper
straws that will further lessen the amount of non-demolishable garbage that is
Environment policies of the Government of India includes legislations related to
environment. In the Directive Principles of State Policy, Article 48(a) says
"the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to
safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country"; Article 51-A states that "it
shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural
environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and to have
compassion for living creatures."
Notably, the government has passed various legislations to curb the damage
caused to the environment such as the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, Forest
Conservation Act, 1980, Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974,
Biological Diversity Act, 2002, Public Liability Insurance Act 1889 and National
Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
According to Article 48 (A) of the Indian Constitution, the state shall try to
protect and improve the environment. It should also endeavor to safeguard
forests and wildlife of the country.
According to Article 51(A) (g) of the Indian Constitution, every citizen of
India has a fundamental duty to protect and improve the natural environment
including forest, lakes, rivers, and wildlife and should have compassion for
The constitution of India is not an inert but a living document which evolves
and grows with time. The specific provisions on environment protection in the
constitution are also result of this evolving nature and growth potential of the
fundamental law of the land. The preamble to our constitution ensures socialist
pattern of the society and dignity of the individual.
Decent standard of living and pollution free environment is inherent in this.
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 defines environment as "environment
includes water, air and land and the interrelationship which exists among and
between air, water and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants,
micro-organism and property.
Environment protection is part of our cultural values and traditions. In
Atharvaveda, it has been said that "Man's paradise is on earth; this living
world is the beloved place of all; It has the blessings of nature's bounties;
live in a lovely spirit". Earth is our paradise and it is our duty to protect
The constitution of India embodies the framework of protection and preservation
of nature without which life cannot be enjoyed. The knowledge of constitutional
provisions regarding environment protection is need of the day to bring greater
public participation, environmental awareness, environmental education and
sensitize the people to preserve ecology and environment.
Despite various attempts at preservation, India ranks at the bottom in a list of
180 countries in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index, India has scored so
low with major critical issues. The Environmental Protection Index provides for
accurate data and state of sustainability of different countries. EPI sets
targets and receives outcomes, It aspires to come forward and to move towards a
"Overall EPI rankings indicate which countries are best addressing the
environmental challenges that every nation faces. Going beyond the aggregate
scores and drilling down into the data to analyse performance by issue category,
policy objective, peer group, and country offers even greater value for
policymakers. This granular view and comparative perspective can assist in
understanding the determinants of environmental progress and in refining policy
The EPI has been criticised for its arbitrary choice of metrics. Supporters of
the index point out that there is nothing arbitrary in the choice of its key
parameters of ecosystem vitality, health, and climate policy. Another facile
argument used by policymakers is that environment and ecological security are a
luxury and cannot be prioritised ahead of human development.
This argument is not only dated but dangerous. It starts with the deadly
assumption that humans are separate from the environment. That, actually, is the
root of the current problem. If development of the two had been considered on an
equal footing it would have led to true sustainability.
The proof of the pudding lies in the eating and, in India's case, the proof of a
deteriorating environment is there for all to see.
India conclusively ahead of its setback on the global platform with various
parameters and developments should strive to get better with time and should
raise the bar with respect to climate and environmental laws, Largely attempts
are being made for the further development but it would not suffice in the long
run, In some years, Some countries will prove to get largely ahead of India in
terms of Environmental protection,
We cannot afford for India to be held back by any term. There is global
competition with respect to awareness for the Environmental protection and in
this game, everyone is trying hard to surpass the other so as to move ahead in
terms of global figures because there is an urgent probable necessity for us to
look into these matters as they shape our tomorrows.
Written By: Devika Raj
Law Article in India
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