Describe Issues Emerges in Enforcement of National Environment Legislations

Describe Issues Emerges in Enforcement of National Environment Legislations


  • The most important issues that are associated with the enforcement of environmental legislation in India include
  • The polluter-pays principle, Freedom of information, and the precautionary principle.
  • Nowadays the environment that we survive in is highly polluted.
  • The process of deforestation continues and the wildlife is not protected properly even with the enforcement of any laws.
  • It does not mean that enforcing laws eradicate many problems.
  • There are still more problems that are related to the pollution of water, soil, and resources of the earth that are considered to be valuable.
  • It is very essential for environmental legislation to take action to overview whether laws are enforced properly.
  • If anyone violates any of the laws strict actions must be taken by them against their acts.

Some of the important issues involved in the enforcement of environmental legislation in India are as follows: 

  • The precautionary principle, 
  • The polluter-pays principle, 
  • Freedom of information!

The environmental issue in India looks gloomy despite so many Legislations and Acts. The rivers and lakes continue to be choked with industrial waste and sewage. The air in many cities of India is heavily polluted. Deforestation takes place quite normally. The protection of wildlife is not carried out in its true spirit, despite the enforcement of Acts.

The people must be guided and helped to establish the trend of acceptance of preventing the environment as a whole, our health, and Earth’s resources, The presence of legislation to protect the air, water, soil, etc., doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is addressed.

Once the legislation is made at the global, national, or state level, it has to be implemented. For environmental legislation to be successfully implemented there has to be an effective agency to collect relevant data, process it, and pass it on to a law enforcement agency. If the law or rule is broken by an individual or institution, this has to be punished through the legal process.

The Government of India constituted a Central Board for the prevention and control of water pollution after the Water Act, 1974 was passed. Subsequently Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1986 was passed. The Central Board for prevention and control of water pollution was entrusted to manage the affairs enumerated in Air Act, 1986 and Environment Act, 1986.

Several other acts and rules were enacted. All the state governments also constituted pollution central boards in their respective states and accepted the central legislation in their respective legislative assemblies. Some of the pollution monitoring is carried out by other agencies, e.g., vehicular pollution is monitored by the transport department. This is a real drawback because several agencies cannot control pollution.

Environmental litigation is more expensive than other types of disputes, as it involves expert testimony and technical evidence central and state boards must be able to afford the expertise and the administrative backing.

So, efforts are made to share the costs of anti-pollution measures taken by the industry to avoid state-sponsored expensive and lengthy legal battles. The laws enacted by the government should be made very stringent and harsh so that every citizen may not dare to play with the environment and instead he/she should protect it.

Three issues that are especially important for environmental legislation are:

1. The precautionary principle:

This principle has evolved to deal with risks and uncertainties faced by environmental management. The principle implies that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure it does not prevent problems but may reduce their occurrence and helps ensure contingency plans are made.

The application of this principle requires either cautious progress until development can be judged ‘innocent’, or avoiding development until research indicates exactly what the risks are, and then proceeding to minimize them.

Once a threat is identified, action should be taken to prevent or control damage even if there is uncertainty, about whether the threat is real. Some environmental problems become impossible or costly to solve if there is a delay, therefore waiting for research and legal proof is not costless.

2. The polluter-pays principle:

In addition to, the obvious the polluter pays for the damage caused by development this principle also implies that a polluter pays for monitoring and policing. A problem with this approach is that fines may bankrupt small businesses, yet be low enough for a large company to write them off as an occasional overhead, which does little for pollution control.

There is, thus, the debate as to whether the principle should be retrospective. Developing nations are seeking to have developed countries pay more for carbon dioxide and other emissions controls, arguing that they polluted the global environment during the Industrial Revolution, yet enjoy the fruits of invention from the era.

This principle, in fact, is more a way of allocating costs to the polluter than a legal principle. This principle was adopted by OECD member countries in 1972, at least in theory.

3. Freedom of information:

Environmental planning and management is hindered if the public, NGOs, or even official bodies are unable to get information. Many countries have now begun to release more information, the USA has a Freedom of Information Act, and the European Union is moving in this direction.

But still, many governors and multinational corporations fear that industrial secrets will leak to competitors if there is too much disclosure, and there are situations where authorities declare strategic needs and suspend disclosure.

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