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Environmental Policy, Legislation And Implementation

by Mrs Almitra H Patel Member, Supreme Court Committee for Urban Solid Waste Management

almitrapatel@rediffmail.com
1

The result has been disastrous for our environment and hence for the economy too. but politics and/or corruption prevent their effective implementation.India is a “soft State” It has excellent environmental laws. 2 . as we are now seeing.

It is politically convenient to pass the buck to the Courts for doing what the legislature and executive ought to do.Public Interest Litigation has become the last resort It has given a voice to concerned and knowledgeable citizens and a a push for action and enforcement. 3 .

India‟s environmental laws span more than a century 1865 1927 1974 1981 1986 1991 4 British take forest lands from princes Forest Act. amended 1980 Water Act Air Act Environment Protection Act Coastal Regulation Zones .

Fly Ash Notification 2000 Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000 Battery Mgt & Handling Rules 5 .New Laws are moving from the general to Specifics This has been made possible under the 1986 Environment Protection Act 1989 Hazardous Waste Rules 1998 Biomedical Waste Rules 1999 Rules for Recycled Plastics.

Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimisation Rules will be next A major weakness of the Environment Protection Act is its lack of “teeth” So new directions may arise either as judgments : CNG for Delhi vehicles. or State or City Rules : Plastic carry-bags banned in Sikkim. Shimla. Nilgiris Dt. parts of West Bengal. all of Bangla Desh 6 .

World-wide.g to prevent water pollution. e. these are the most effective. e. Such moves should be welcomed.Economic Instruments will be the next phase Karnataka‟s Green Tax on 15-year-old vehicles is the first of such moves.g. for take-back of PET bottles and beer cans. 7 . creatively used and suggested by industry.

8 . drinkingwater for villages beside Bhima River ! National River Conservation Authority & National Water Policy won‟t succeed till we rethink centralised sewage treatment. Yamuna Pollution. Judgments continue to cover Ganga Action Plan.WATER Water-sharing cases are decades old.

RIGHT TO MANAGE WATER Alwar villagers revive a dead river. but officials tried to destroy their check-dam Fishing rights won for Tawa Lake villagers Chilika Lake fishermen still fight big business Ground-water withdrawal rules flouted Citywide rainwater harvesting becoming a requirement 9 .

loudspeaker rules for Calcutta.AIR MC Mehta’s 1985 case for unleaded petrol won relief only in 2001. Still 2 out of 7 IOC refineries produce leaded fuel which finds its way to cities. only because private sector Reliance offered it. Noise pollution judgments have begun: firecrackers only during limited hours. etc. 10 . Public vigilance is the answer.

Nepal’s forests are now being restored through community control. 11 . Citizens need to support community control of urban or rural spending and our precious coastline.LAND : PRIVATE OR COMMUNITY PROPERTY? All lands in India except the king’s were community-owned until the British brought the concept of private property. “Me-first” culture has wrought massive degradation.

We need such models to spread to other metro areas for effective environment protection 12 .THE US EPA HAS “TEETH” National Capital Territory of Delhi‟s “Bhure Lal Committee” is the first in India to enjoy similar powers.

13 . So industries asked to “store on-site” just pour effluents down “reverse borewells” or dump illegally all over.HAZARDOUS WASTE The 1989 Rules are totally useless as not one State has officially identified & started work on an engineered landfill.

By 31.MSW Rules 2000 These require keeping „Wet‟ food wastes and „Dry‟ recyclables unmixed. Biodegradable Wet wastes to be composted.12.2001 improve existing landfills Dec 02 identify & prepare landfill sites Dec 03 Set up waste processing and disposal facilities 14 .

WHERE ARE THE LANDFILLS? Appalling open dumps make villagers protest : NIMBY syndrome everywhere. Is decentralised composting the answer? 15 . so property-owners clamour for relocation of existing dumps. State balks at declaring Buffer Zones of No-Development.

IEA can collate such issues & address them.OTHER LAWS ARE ENTWINED Contract Labour Act 1970 prevents cities from privatising cleaning services. 16 . Transport cartels fight its fair privatisation. This will be so in other spheres too. Citizens pay the price in filth and taxes.

com 17 . Bagalur Rd Bangalore 560077 080-8465365 almitrapatel@rediffmail.THANK YOU Mrs Almitra Patel 50 Kothnur.

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