ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS-AND- THIS BOARD
This Board, though constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, has also been entrusted with powers and functions under such other Acts on environment. Other environmental laws, which followed after the Water Act, 1974, were also credited in the functional account of the central Board, as well as this Board. Such special Acts on Environment may be enumerated as indicated below:
- The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
- The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; and
All the four Acts and important Rules framed thereunder may be referred below with their individual objectives and obligations cast on responsible persons.
I. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974:
The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 provides for the prevention and control of water pollution and the maintaining or re-storing of whole-someness of water. Under the scheme of the Act, the relevant provisions, casting obligations on persons may be referred under sections - 24,25/26 and 31 of the Act.
Section - 24, prohibits on the use of stream or well for the disposal of polluting matters, which is in excess of the standards laid down by the Board. In other words, people are under obligation to observe the standards laid down by the Board, in the matter of use of stream or well by way of disposal of the polluting matters, determined in accordance with the Board's Standard.
Section - 25/26, restricts establishment or use of new or existing outlets or discharge without prior consent from the Board. In other words, person are under obligation to apply for consent, before they are taking steps to establish any industry or are bringing into use any new outlet or are continuing with the existing Outlet for the discharge of sewage or trade effluent.
Section - 31, cast obligation on any industry, operation or process to furnish information to the Sate Board, including other agencies, about accidental discharge of any poisonous matter into a stream or well or sewer on land. Failure to carry out the aforesaid obligations attracts penal provisions under sections 43,44 and 42 respectively.
II. The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act,1977:
The water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 provides for the levy and collection of Cess on water consumed by persons carrying on specified industry and by local authorities, with a view to augmenting the resource of Central and State Board's for the prevention and Control of water pollution, constituted under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The relevant provisions casting obligation under this Act may be referred under sections 3,4 and 5.
Section - 3 casts liability on every person carrying on any specified industry under Schedule I of the Act, and also on every authority to pay a Cess for the purpose of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and utilization of water thereunder.
Section - 4, requires every person carrying on any specified industry and every local authority to affix meters of prescribed standard, so as to measure the quantity of water consumed by them.
Section - 5, requires the said persons to furnish returns in the prescribed format, showing the quantity of water consumed in the previous month. Failure to carry out the obligations and liability, as aforesaid, attracts the penal provision under section 14 of the Act.
III. Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1981:
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 provides for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
The liability/obligations imposed on the concerned persons under the scheme of this Act may be referred under the provisions of sections 21,22 and 23.
Section - 21, similar to the provision under section 25/26 of the Water Act, 1974, puts obligationby way of restriction on any person on the establishment or operation of any industrial plant in an air pollution control area, without obtaining prior consent from the concerned Board.
Section - 22 is also comparable to section 24 of the Water Act, 1974. It requires any person carrying on any industrial plant to allow discharge or emission only within the prescribed standard.
Section - 23 is also comparable to section 31 of the Water Act, 1974, whereunder any person, carrying on an industrial plant, shall furnish information to the State Board or other agencies, in case due to any accident or other unforeseen act or event emission has occurred in excess of the standards laid down by the Board.
In the event of failure to carry out ones obligations or liabilities, as aforesaid, penal provision under Section - 37 of the Act is attracted.
IV. Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
It provides for the protection and improvement of environment and the matters connected therewith. This legislative piece was brought into existence by the Parliament, as Umbrella Act, which intended to cover all the specific and general provisions left by the earlier enactments.
The instant Act, being broader in approach, has broader catch also in creating liabilities and obligations on the Nation. The obligations created under this Act may be broadly referred under sections 7,8,and 9.
Section - 7 puts obligation on every person carrying on any industry or operation to allow emission or discharge only within the standards prescribed by the Central Government.
Section - 8 requires any person handling hazardous substance to handle them in accordance with such procedure and safe - guards as has been prescribed by the Central Government by the following Rules . These Rules, further break obligations and liablities on certain persons to carry out, as discussed below separately :-
(A.) The Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989:
These rules apply to hazardous wastes, as specified in its Schudele but shall not apply to discharge or emissions covered under the the Water Act, 1974 and the Air Act, 1981; shall not apply to wastes arising out of the operation from ships, beyond 5 Kilometers in the sea; and shall also not apply to Radio-Active Wastes covered under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.
These rule create liability on all such persons, who are handling or causing to be handled hazardous wastes specified in its schedule.
Rule - 4 creates responsibilities on the occupiers, who generate hazardous waste listed in column - II of the schedule in quantities equal to or exceeding the limit given in column - III of the said Schedule, to take all proper steps during handling and disposal of such waste without creating any adverse effect.
He is also required to give specified information by the State Board to the operator of a facility intending to get his hazardous Waste treated.
Under Rule 5, every occupier generating hazardous wastes and having facility for collection, treatment, storage and disposal of such wastes, is required to obtain authorization for handling such hazardous wastes from State Pollution Control Board.
Similarly, any person, who intends to or is operating a facility for the collection, reception, treatment, transport, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes, shall have to obtain authorization from the State Board.
Under Rule 10, the occupier or the operator of a facility shall be under obligation to report immediately to the state Board about any accident occurring at the facility or on a hazardous wastes site.
(B) The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989:
These Rules intend to take into ambit all the industrial activities involving hazardous chemicals, which satisfy any of the criteria, laid down in Part-1 of Schedule-1 and is listed in column-II of Part-II of the schedule. This applies to isolated storage of hazardous chemical also in which there is involved a threshold quantity of a hazardous chemical listed in schedule - II in column - II, which is equal to or more than the threshold quantity specified in the schedule for that chemical in column - III thereof.
Under Rule,4 the general responsibilities or obligation of the occupiers, during their industrial activities is to identify major accidental hazards and take adequate steps to prevent such major accident and also to provide persons working on the site with necessary information and training for ensuring their safety.
Under Rule, 5 the occupiers shall be duty-bound to notify further to the concerned authority about any major accident, if it occurs.
Under Rule,7 the occupiers shall be under an obligation to notify the site by a written report to the concerned authority about his intentions to undertake any industrial activity involving hazardous chemicals.
Under Rule, 8 the occupiers shall be duty bound to notify the updated position of such sites.
Under Rule, 10 the occupiers shall not undertake any of such industrial activities, unless he has prepared a safety report on his proposed industrial activity.
Under Rule, 13 the occupier shall prepare on site emergency plan, detailing. How major accident, if takes place, will be dealt with.
Under Rule, 15 occupier shall be bound to give information to the persons liable to be effected by a major accident, during his industrial activity.
(C) Rules for the manufacture, use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro - Organism Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells:
These Rules are applicable to the manufacture, import and storage of Microorganisms and gene-technological products.
Under Rule, 10: no such products shall be produced, sold, imported or used except with the approval of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.
Under Rule, 16: persons responsible for such products and their use shall be duty-bound to notify to the concerned authorities about any accidents.
Under Rule, 17: preparation of site emergency plan is also an obligation.
(D) The chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, preparedness, and Response) Rule, 1996:
These rules have been made with a view to dealing with chemical accident and coordinating efforts in planning, preparedness and mitigation of a chemical accident.
Under these rules, provision for the constitution of Central crisis group; State crises group; and District and Local crises group, have been made.
Rule, 9: Under rule 9, any person responsible for any discharge or emission in excess of the standards prescribed by the Central Government, due to some accident, is required to furnish information to the concerned authorities or agencies so that necessary steps could be taken to stop or mitigate.
Whoever fails to comply with any of the obligations as aforesaid, will be liable to be punished under section 15 with imprisonment for a term extendable up to 5 years with fine.
(E) The Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998:
These rules apply to all, which generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose of or handle bio-medical waste in any form.
Under Rule 4, every occupier of an institution, generating biomedical waste, including a Hospital, Nursing home, Clinic, Dispensary, Veterinary institution, Animal house, Pathological laboratory, blood bank, shall be under obligation to take all steps to ensure that such wastes are handled without any adverse effect to human health and environment.
Under Rule 5, every occupier shall treat and dispose of such waste, as specified in schedule - I read with standards in Schedule - V.
Under Rule 8, every occupier handling such waste and providing services to 1000 or more patients per month, shall be bound to obtain authorization from the prescribed authority.
Under Rule 12, every occupier shall be duty bound to report any accident to the prescribed authority.