ENVIRONENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES

ENVIRONENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES

 

ACTSOBJECTIVES and PROVISIONS
Wildlife Protection Act 1972

 

 

 

Objective – To protect wild animals, birds, plants & matter connected with them.

  •          Appointment of Wildlife Advisory Board, Wildlife Warden.
  •          Central Zoo Authority and National Board for Wildlife.
  •          Establishment of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation reserve, community reserves, & Tiger reserves.
  •          License for Trade & commerce in some wildlife species & Ban trade or commerce in scheduled animals.
  •         In-situ & ex-situ conservation of wildlife. Regulations for hunting wild animals & birds.

There are 6 Schedules which gives varying degree of protection:

1.       Schedule I & II provides absolute protection with highest penalties for violation.

2.       Schedule III & IV species are also protected, but the penalties are lower.

3.       Schedule V includes vermin” animals, which can be hunted.

4.       Schedule VI includes endemic plants that are prohibited from cultivation & planting.

WPA (Amendment) 2006: Created the National Tiger Conservation Authority & Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986Objective – To protect, improve environment & reduce pollution. Enacted aftermath of Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984).

  •          Authorizes the central government to control & reduce pollution from all sources.
  •          Provides procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants.
Indian Forest Act, 1927Objective – To protect & conserve forests.

  •          It categorized forest into Reserve forest, Protected forest & Village forest.
  •          Act defines forest offence, Specifies the acts prohibited inside a Reserved Forest, and penalties for the violation.
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980Objective To protect the forest and control its deterioration.

  •          Mandatory Central Government’s prior approval for diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes.
  •         Checks deforestation & encourage afforestation.
National Forest Policy, 1988Objective To-ensure environmental stability & ecological balance.

  •          Conservation of existing Natural Heritage.
  •         Checking Soil Erosion & Denudation in catchment areas.
  •          Checking extension of dunes in desert areas of Rajasthan & along coastal tracts.
  •          Substantially increasing Forest or Tree Cover through Afforestation & Social Forestry.
  •         Increasing the productivity of Forests to meet National Needs.
  •          Encourage efficient utilization of Forest Produce & Optimum Use of Wood (Timber).
  •          Generation of Work Opportunities, the involvement of Women.

Note – Forest policy, 1952 recommends 33% forest cover (60% in mountainous region & 25% in plain area) of the total area.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006Objective To restore the deprived forest rights of the Scheduled Tribes & other traditional forest dwellers across India.

  •         Grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest-dwelling communities.
  •         National Parks, Sanctuaries, Reserve Forest & Protected Forests are included for the recognition of Rights.
  •          Act defines ‘Critical wildlife habitats’ as areas of national parks & wildlife sanctuaries that are kept aloof for wildlife conservation.

Rights recognized:

1.       Title Rights: To legally hold forest lands (up to 4 acres). Applies for land that is being cultivated by the concerned family, no new lands are granted.

2.       Use Rights: Forest produce including non-timber forest produce of plants by the community.

3.       Community forest resource rights: To protect, regenerate, conserve or manage forest resources for sustainable use, providing for community governance of forests.

Eligibility criteria:

1.       Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed.

2.       Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) before 13-12-2005; and

3.       Depend on the forest or forest land for livelihood needs.

Process of recognition of rights:

1.       Gram Sabha – Pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognized.

2.       Screening committees – Resolution is screened & approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and the district level.

The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue & Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.

Biological Diversity Act 2002Objective To conserve, promote sustainable use of biological diversity & ensure fair & equitable sharing of its benefits.

  •          The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  •          Prohibits the transfer of Indian genetic material outside the country, without specific approval.
  •          Prior permission is mandatory to claim IPR over Biodiversity & its derivatives.
  •          Regulation of the use of GM organisms.
  •          Establishes National, State, & Local Biodiversity Funds.
  •          Set up Biodiversity Management Committees at the local village level, State Biodiversity Boards at the state level, & a National Biodiversity Authority at the national level.
Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Rules, 2019

 

 

 

 

Objective To promote sustainable development and conserve coastal environments.

  •          It governs human and industrial activity close to the coastline.
  •          The Rules, mandated under Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991.
  •          Shailesh Nayak Committee was set up on CRZ.

For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories:

1.       CRZ-III(A) with a population density of more than 2161, the No Development Zone (NDZ) is reduced to 50 meters from 200 meters from High Tide Line (HTL)

2.       CRZ-III(B) with less than 2161 the NDZ is 200 meters from High Tide Line(HTL)

  •          A NDZ of 20 meters specified for all Islands.
  •          Temporary tourism facilities are permitted in Beaches in the NDZ of the CRZ-III areas.
  •          Involvement of coastal communities for management of Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) identified under the EPA, 1986.
  •         The treatment facilities are permitted in CRZ-I B area to address pollution.
Bio-Medical Waste Rules, 2016

 

Objective To manage bio-medical waste (2016 rules are an improvement to BMW-1998 rules)

  •          The ambit of the rules has been expanded to include vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps, or any other healthcare activity.
  •         The use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves & blood bags to be phased out within two years.
  •         Pre-treatment of the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples & blood bags through disinfection on-site in the manner prescribed by the WHO or by the NACO.
  •         Regular training & immunization for all health care workers.
  •          A Bar-Code System for bags or containers containing bio-medical waste for disposal.
  •          Categorization: 4 categories of waste instead of the earlier 10 to improve the segregation of waste at source.
  •         The State Govt has to provide the land for common bio-medical waste treatment and disposal facilities.

Note: these rules shall not apply to:

  •          Radioactive wastes + Wastes covered under the MSW Rules,2000,  + E-waste
  •          Hazardous microorganisms
e-Waste Management Rules 2016

(amendment to 2011 rules)

  •         Notified under EPA, 1986
  •          Included CFL & other Mercury-containing lamps as e-waste.
  •         Brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets.
  •          State Governments have to ensure safety, health & skill development of the workers involved in dismantling & recycling operations.
  •          Penalty for violation of rules.
  •         Urban Local Bodies – the right to charge user fees and levy spot fines for littering and non-segregation.
E-waste (Management)

Amendment Rules, 2018

Objective To channelize the E-waste generated in the country towards authorized dismantlers & recyclers to formalize the e-waste recycling sector.

  •          E-waste collection targets under EPR have been revised – 10% (for 2017-18) of the quantity of waste generated with a 10% increase every year until 2023. (Target set at 70% after 2023 onwards).
  •         Separate E-waste collection targets for new producers.
  •          PROs (Producer Responsibility Organizations) must register with CPCB to undertake activities prescribed.
Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Trans-boundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2019.

(amended the 2016 rules)

Objective To strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste.

  •          Prohibition on the import of solid plastic waste even in SEZ & EOU (Export Oriented Units). Silk waste exports are exempted.
  •         Electrical & electronic assemblies and components manufactured in & exported from India if found defective can be imported back into the country, within a year of export, without obtaining permission.
  •          Industries that do not require consent under Water Act 1974 & Air Act 1981, are exempted under the ‘Hazardous & Other Wastes Rules, 2016’, provided that wastes generated by such industries are handed over to the authorized actual users, waste collectors, or disposal facilities.
National-Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Objective For effective & expeditious disposal (within 6 months of appeal) of the environmental cases + To help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.

  •          Establishes NGT & it has jurisdiction over all civil cases involving substantial questions relating to the environment.
  •         Provides for Enforcement of legal environmental rights, relief & compensation for damages caused.
  •          Tribunal is guided by principles of natural justice & its order is executable as a decree of a civil court.
  •         NGT orders are binding but can be challenged in the SC within 90 days.
  •          NGT – Principal Bench at New Delhi & 4 regional benches in Pune, Bhopal, Chennai & Kolkata. There is also a mechanism for circuit benches.
  •          The chairperson of the NGT is a retired judge of The Supreme Court.
  •         Each bench of the NGT comprises at least one judicial member and one expert member.

NGT deals with:

1.       The water act, 1974

2.       The water cess act, 1977

3.       The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

4.       The Air Act, 1981

5.       The EPA, 1986

6.       The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;

7.       The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

It does not deal with:

1.       Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972

2.       Indian Forest Act, 1927

3.       Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Note: NGT Act, draws inspiration from India’s constitutional provision of Article 48A (DPSP)

The Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Rules, 2000.

 

 

Objective To regulate production, consumption & phasing out the ODSs following the Montreal Protocol.

Rules notified under EPA,1986:

  •         Prohibit the use of CFCs except for medical purposes.
  •          Since HCFCs are used as interim substitutes to replace CFCs, these are allowed up to 1st January 2040.
  •          Mandatory registration of ODS producers, sellers, importers, and stockiest.

ODS-Amendment Rules, 2019:

  •          India achieved the complete phase-out of HCFC (Hydrochlorofluorocarbon)-141b.
  •          The issuance of an import license for HCFC-141b is prohibited under this amendment.
The Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act, 2001Objective To protect plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants + Recognizes rights of Farmers, Breeders & researchers.

Farmers Rights:

  •          Recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources.
  •         A farmer who has developed a new variety is entitled to registration and protection.
  •          Compensation to the farmers for non-performance of variety.
  •          Farmers are not liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority/Registrar/Tribunal/High Court under the Act.

Breeders’ Rights:

  •         Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import, or export the protected variety.

Researchers’ Rights:

  •          Researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting experiments or research.
  •         Investment in R&D for the development new of plant varieties.

Facilitate the growth of the seed industry, ensure the availability of high-quality seeds & planting material.

Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA Act), 2016.

 

Objective To provide an appropriate institutional mechanism to utilize afforestation funds.

  •          Set up Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) at central & state level.
  •          Establishes a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, & a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  •          The National Fund receives 10% & State Fund gets 90% of funds collected.
  •          The funds are utilized for afforestation, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wildlife protection & infrastructure development.
  •          The Forest Conservation Act of 1980 provides that non-forest land, equal to the size of the forest being “diverted”, is afforested or money deposited for the same.