Environment Protection Act -1986

The constitution of India clearly states that it is the duty of the state to “protect & improve the environment and to safeguard the forests & wildlife of the country”. The department of environment was established in India in 1980. this later became the Ministry of environment & forests in 1985. The EPA (Environment Protection Act), 1986 came into force soon after the Bhopal gas tragedy & is considered an umbrella legislation as it fills many gaps in the existing laws. Thereafter a large number of laws came into existence as the problems began arising, or example, handling and management of hazardous waste rule in 1989.

An Act to provide for the protection and improvement of Environment. Whereas the decisions were taken at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972, in which India participated, to take appropriate steps for the protection & improvement of human environment.

Objective

  • Providing for the protection & improvement of the environment.
  • Preventing environmental pollution in all its forms.
  • To tackle specific environmental problems that are peculiar to different parts of the country.
  • To co- ordinate the activities of the various regulatory agencies already in existence.
  • To appoint environment officers to check environmental pollution.
  • To improve the quality of life by protection of environment.
  • Establishing environmental laboratories. To protect the forests & wildlife in the country.

SCHEME OF THE ACT

The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has 26 Sections & it has been divided into four chapters relating to, 1.Preliminary 2.General Powers of the central Government. 3.Prevention, Control, & Abatement of Environmental Pollution. 4.Miscellaneous.

PRELIMINARY : •Short Title, Extended & Commencement. •Definitions

Short Title, Extended & Commencement

The environmental protection act (1986) enacted under article 253 of the Indian constitution. To protect & improve environmental quality, control & reduce pollution from all sources. 1.This act may be called the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. 2.It extends to the whole of India.

IMPORTATNT DEFINATIONS

  1. Environment
  2. Environmental Pollutant
  3. Environmental Pollution
  4. Handling
  5. Hazardous Substance
  6. Occupier

GENERAL POWERS OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

  • Planning and execution of a nation-wide program for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.
  • Restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards.
  • Laying down procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances
  • Examination of such manufacturing processes, materials and substances as are likely to cause environmental pollution.
  • Carrying out and sponsoring investigations and research relating to problems of environmental pollution.
  • Establishment or recognition of environmental laboratories and institutes to carry out the functions entrusted to such environmental laboratories and institutes under this Act.

RULES TO REGULATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

  1. The standards of quality of air, water or soil for various areas and purposes
  2. The maximum allowable limits of concentration of various environmental pollutants (including noise) for different areas
  3. The procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances
  4. The prohibition and restrictions on the handling of hazardous substances in different areas
  5. The prohibition and restriction on the location of industries and the carrying on process and operations in different areas
  6. The procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may •cause environmental pollution and for providing for remedial measures for •such accidents.

PREVENTION, CONTROL, AND ABATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION

  • Persons carrying on industry operation, etc., not to allow emission or discharge of environmental pollutants in excess of the standards.
  • Persons handling hazardous substances to comply with procedural safeguards
  • Furnishing of information to authorities and agencies in certain cases
  • Powers of entry and inspection
  • Power to take sample and procedure

PUNISHMENTS

One of the objective of EPA is provide for deterrent punishment to those who endanger human environment safety & health. Section 15 of EPA provides that any person who fails to comply or contrivance any provision or rule or act he shall be punishable. With a fine  of 1 lakh. with imprisonment for term for 5 years. or both