- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 authorizes the central government to protect and improve environmental quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or restrict the setting and /or operation of any industrial facility on environmental grounds. The Environment (Protection) Act was enacted in 1986 with the objective of providing for the protection and improvement of the environment. It empowers the Central Government to establish authorities charged with the mandate of preventing environmental pollution in all its forms and to tackle specific environmental problems that are peculiar to different parts of the country. The Act was last amended in 1991.
- The Environment (Protection) Rules lay down procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants.
- The objective of Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 is to control the generation, collection, treatment, import, storage, and handling of hazardous waste.
- The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Rules define the terms used in this context, and sets up an authority to inspect, once a year, the industrial activity connected with hazardous chemicals and isolated storage facilities.
- The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous Micro-organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules,1989 were introduced with a view to protect the environment, nature, and health, in connection with the application of gene technology and micro-organisms.
The Biological Diversity Act 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules
The Biological Diversity Act 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules provide for the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and knowledge associated with it.
Its key provisions aimed at achieving the above are:
- Prohibition on transfer of Indian genetic material outside the country, without specific approval of the Indian Government;
- Prohibition on anyone claiming an Intellectual Property Right (IPR), such as a patent, over biodiversity or related knowledge, without permission of the Indian Government;
- Regulation of collection and use of biodiversity by Indian nationals, while exempting local communities from such restrictions;
- Measures for sharing of benefits from the use of biodiversity, including transfer of technology, monetary returns, joint Research & Development, joint IPR ownership, etc.;
- Measures to conserve and sustain-ably use biological resources, including habitat and species protection, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of projects, integration of biodiversity into the plans, programmes, and policies of various departments/sectors;
- Provisions for local communities to have a say in the use of their resources and knowledge, and to charge fees for this; Protection of indigenous or traditional knowledge, through appropriate laws or other measures such as registration of such knowledge;
- Regulation of the use of genetically modified organisms; Setting up of National, State, and Local Biodiversity Funds, to be used to support conservation and benefit-sharing;
- Setting up of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) at local village level, State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) at state level, and a National Biodiversity Authority (NBA).
The Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules 1991 and Amendment, 1992
The Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules 1991 and Amendment, 1992 were drawn up to provide for public liability insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident while handling any hazardous substance.
The National Environmental Tribunal Act,1995, Amendment 2010
The Act has been created to award compensation for damages to persons, property, and the environment arising from any activity involving hazardous substances. The three major objectives of the Green Tribunal are
- The effective and speedy disposal of the cases relating to environment protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. All the previous pending cases will also be heard by the Tribunal.
- It aims at enforcing all the legal rights relating to the environment
- It also accounts for providing compensation and relief to effected people for damage of property.
The salient features of amendment are as follows:
- Amendment provides an equal opportunity to any citizen of India to approach the National Green Tribunal.
- It ensures that the tribunal takes into consideration principles of Sustainable Development, Precautionary principles, Polluter Pays Principles and Inter generational Equity while hearing any appeal and giving judgements.
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
Under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multidisciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal.
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act,1997
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act has been created to hear appeals with respect to restrictions of areas in which classes of industries etc. are carried out or prescribed subject to certain safeguards under the EPA.
The Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998
The Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) Rules,1998 is a legal binding on the health care institutions to streamline the process of proper handling of hospital waste such as segregation, disposal, collection, and treatment.
The Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules, 1999
The Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules, 1999 lay down detailed provisions relating to areas to be avoided for siting of industries, precautionary measures to be taken for site selecting as also the aspects of environmental protection which should have been incorporated during the implementation of the industrial development projects.
The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000
The Rules apply to every municipal authority responsible for the collection, segregation, storage, transportation, processing, and disposal of municipal solid wastes.
The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000
The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules,2000 have been laid down for the regulation of production and consumption of ozone depleting substances.
The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001
These rules shall apply to every manufacturer, importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealer, auctioneer, consumer, and bulk consumer involved in the manufacture, processing, sale, purchase, and use of batteries or components so as to regulate and ensure the environmentally safe disposal of used batteries.
The Noise Pollution (Regulation and control) (Amendment) Rules, 2010
These rules lay down such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit use of loud speakers or public address systems during night hours (between 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight) on or during any cultural or religious festive occasion.
Following are the salient features of the amendment:
- In the heading ‘PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM’ the words ‘AND SOUND PRODUCING SYSTEMS’ shall be inserted.
- A loudspeaker or any sound producing system or a sound amplifier shall not be used at night time except in closed premises for communication within like auditorium, conference rooms, community halls, banquet halls or during public emergency.
- The noise level at the boundary of the public place where loudspeaker or public address system is being used the sound should not exceed 10dB above the ambient noise standards of that area or 75dB whichever is less.
- No horn shall be used in silence zones or residential areas at night except in emergency situations.
- Sound emitting construction equipments shall not be operated during night.