The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 is an Indian legislation aimed at preventing and controlling water pollution. It was enacted in response to the growing concerns about the deteriorating quality of water resources due to various human activities. The Act provides for the prevention and control of water pollution and for the maintaining or restoring of the wholesomeness of water.
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 is an important legislation that has contributed significantly to the protection and conservation of water resources in India. It has helped in the prevention and control of water pollution and has set standards for maintaining the quality of water for various purposes. The Act has also empowered regulatory bodies to enforce pollution control measures and to take action against the violators. However, the effective implementation of the Act requires the active participation of all stakeholders, including industries, individuals, and regulatory bodies.
The key provisions of the Act are:
- Establishment of State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB): The Act establishes SPCBs and CPCB as regulatory bodies responsible for implementing the provisions of the Act. The SPCBs are responsible for regulating and enforcing pollution control measures in their respective states, while the CPCB is responsible for coordinating the activities of the SPCBs and for providing technical assistance and guidance.
- Prohibition of discharge of pollutants: The Act prohibits the discharge of any pollutants into water bodies, unless the discharge is in compliance with the standards set by the SPCBs or the CPCB. It also prohibits the disposal of hazardous substances in any manner that may cause water pollution.
- Setting up of standards for effluents: The Act provides for the setting up of standards for the quality of water to be maintained for various purposes such as drinking, bathing, irrigation, and industrial uses. The SPCBs and CPCB are responsible for setting up these standards.
- Inspection and monitoring of industries: The Act empowers the SPCBs and CPCB to carry out inspections and monitoring of industries to ensure compliance with the pollution control measures. They can also issue directions to the industries for the installation of pollution control equipment.
- Power to take samples and analyze: The SPCBs and CPCB have the power to take samples of water and analyze them for pollution levels. They can also take action against any person or industry that is found to be violating the pollution control measures.
- Penalty for non-compliance: The Act provides for penalties for non-compliance with the pollution control measures. The penalties include fines, imprisonment, or both.
Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974 responsibilities and Accountabilities
The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 lays down the responsibilities and accountabilities of various stakeholders in preventing and controlling water pollution in India. These stakeholders include the government, industries, and individuals.
Responsibilities of the government: The government has the primary responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the Act and ensuring that the water bodies are free from pollution. The key responsibilities of the government include:
- Setting up State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for implementing the provisions of the Act.
- Designating water bodies as ‘pollution control areas’ and specifying the quality of water to be maintained for different purposes.
- Issuing directions to industries to install pollution control equipment and monitor their effluent discharge.
- Conducting regular inspections of industries to ensure compliance with the pollution control measures.
- Penalizing the defaulters for non-compliance with the pollution control measures.
Responsibilities of industries:
The industries have the responsibility of ensuring that their operations do not cause pollution of water bodies. The key responsibilities of the industries include:
- Obtaining necessary permits and clearances from the SPCBs or CPCB before setting up the industries.
- Installing pollution control equipment to treat the effluents before discharging them into water bodies.
- Monitoring the effluent discharge and maintaining records of the same.
- Undertaking regular maintenance of the pollution control equipment and submitting the reports to the SPCBs or CPCB.
- Complying with the standards set by the SPCBs or CPCB for the quality of water to be maintained for different purposes.
Responsibilities of individuals:
The individuals have a crucial role to play in preventing and controlling water pollution. The key responsibilities of the individuals include:
- Avoiding the disposal of household wastes, sewage, and other hazardous substances into water bodies.
- Promoting the use of eco-friendly products and practices that reduce the generation of waste and pollutants.
- Reporting any instances of water pollution to the SPCBs or CPCB.
Supporting and participating in the efforts of the government and regulatory bodies to prevent and control water pollution.
The Act provides for strict penalties for non-compliance with the pollution control measures. The penalties include fines, imprisonment, or both, depending on the severity of the offence. The regulatory bodies have the power to take legal action against the defaulters and hold them accountable for the pollution caused by their activities. The Act also provides for the establishment of environmental courts for the speedy resolution of environmental disputes. Therefore, the stakeholders are accountable for their actions or inactions in preventing and controlling water pollution.