Environment Protection Act, 1986

  • Enacted under Article 253 of Constitution and the expression of the sway of environmental quality was taken at the United Nation Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972.

Scope and commencement of the Act

  • Environment Protection Act, 1986 extends to the whole of India.
  • Section 2 of the Environmental protection Act, 1986 (EPA) deals with some of the information about the definition of the Act and these definitions are as follows:
  • “Environment” the word environment includes water, air, land and the inter-relation between their existence. It also includes human beings and other living creatures such as plants, microorganisms and property.
  • “Environmental Pollutants” means any substance in solid, liquid or gaseous form which in consideration is injurious to the health of living beings.
  • “Handling” means any substance which is being manufactured, processed, collected, used, offered for sale or like such substance.
  • “Environmental Pollution” includes the presence of environmental pollutants in the environment.
  • “Hazardous substance” includes the substance or the preparation by which the physical-chemical property is liable to harm human beings or other living creatures such as plants, microorganisms and the property.
  • “Occupier” relates to a factory or any other premises which means a person who has control over its affairs.

From the above definitions given the Environmental protection Act tends to cover a wide range of matters related to environmental protection.

Power of Central government for measures to protect and improve the Environment

  • It is the power vested in the central government that they can take any reasonable and valid steps and measures for the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.
  • These measures are taken for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental Pollution.

Such measures may include

  • Laying down the standards for the quality of the standards of the environment.
  • Coordination of actions which are obliged to the state officers and other authorities under any law.
  • Execution and proper planning of the worldwide national program for the prevention, controlling and abatement of environmental pollution.
  • Restrictions to be applied in any of the industries, processes and any operation shall be conducted.
  • It is the power and the duty of the government to lay down the procedure to carry forward safeguards for the prevention of many inevitable accidents which may inculcate more environmental pollution.
  • Proposal of remedies should be put forward for the protection and prevention of further incidents.
  • Duty and power to lay down the procedures and safeguards to handle the hazardous substance.
  • Examination of manufacturing processes should be done, materials, substances which are likely to cause environmental pollution.
  • Power to inspect various premises, equipment, material and substances and power to direct the authorities for the prevention and control of environmental pollution.
  • To collect the dissemination in the respect of information related to environmental pollution.
  • Preparation of the manuals, codes, guides which are considered suitable enough for controlling environmental pollution.
  • One of the most important tasks is to establish the laboratories.
  • Serving other matters which are necessary for central government to deal with for effective implementation of Environmental Protection Act, 1986.

Under Section 3 of the following act, the central government has the power to authorize or constitute other authorities for the accurate implementation of powers and duties which are mentioned above.

Section 3 of the Environmental Protection Act holds importance due to the fact of a better regulatory mechanism.

Power to give direction

Central government in exercise of powers can issue directions in writing to any person or any officer. They shall be bound to comply with these given directions.

The powers to issue directions will include the power to direct which are as follows:

  • The direction of closure, prohibition or the regulation of any industry and its operational process.
  • direction for the stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity, including any other services.

Prevention, Abatement and Control of Environmental Pollution

  • Section 7 of Environment Protection Act 1986 suggests that no person in the country shall be carrying any of the activity or operation in which there is a large emission of gases or other substances which may lead to excess environmental pollution.
    • The same section also provides certain standards that ought to be maintained in which it is a must that no person is allowed to damage the environment and if a person is found guilty of causing damage to the environment by polluting the pollution pay principle.
    • He can be asked for ‘exemplary damages’ if he is found guilty of damaging the environment.
  • Section 8 provides that any person who is handling the hazardous substance needs to comply with the procedural safeguards.
    • If the emission is to a very large extent or is apprehended through an accident, the person responsible for it is obliged to mitigate from that place to reduce the environmental pollution.
    • He is also required to give an intimation to the higher authorities regarding the same and for that one receipt of remedies shall be required to prevent or mitigate the environmental pollution.
    • In subsection (1), provides that if a person wilfully delays or obstructs the person designated by the central government, he will be charged guilty under this act.

Penalty For The Contravention of Rules and orders of this Act

  • As it was stated earlier that the most important goal of the environmental protection act is to provide for the punishment of the offence of endangering the human environment, safety and health.
  • Section 15 states that any person who is not complying to the provisions stated in this act and its failure or contravention will make him liable and punishable.
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