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ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS: There are 49 Central laws and 19 State laws that have a direct or indirect bearing on the protection of environment and chemical safety.
The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974: Under this Act, Pollution Control Boards have been set up in the Centre and in the States for the prevention, abatement and control of pollution of rivers and streams. This Act was enacted in accordance with the provisions of Article 252 of the Constitution of India.
The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977: This Act is enacted for the levy and collection of cess on water consumed by persons carrying on certain industries and by local authorities, with a view to augment the resources of the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards. Rate of Cess are: (a) Industrial Cooling Water or Boiler Feed – 10 paisa per Kilolitre (b) Domestic purpose – 3 paisa per Kilolitre (c) Processing whereby water gets polluted and the pollutants are not easily biodegradable and are toxic - paisa per kilolitre. Section 5 of this Act states that persons liable to pay Cess shall furnish returns on water consumption on or before the 5th day of every Calendar month to the assessing authority.(Water Resource is essentially a State Subject according to the Constitution).
The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: It empowers the Central Board to lay down Standards for ambient air quality without any need to consult the various states. It provides Standards for emissions. The Air Act Classifies sources of air pollution into three: (a) Emissions from scheduled industries (b) Emissions from automobiles (c) Emissions from other sources including domestic sources.
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986: This Act is an umbrella type enactment to ensure enforcement of several acts and regulations already in existence covering environmental pollution control and safety. It enables coordination of activities of the various regulatory agencies, handling of hazardous substances, and speedy response in the event of environmental accidents. Also for the first time, this Act empowers the Government to frame rules against noise pollution and prescribe standards for soil.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): It may be defined as “A process which attempts to identify and predict the impacts of legislative proposals, policies, programs, projects and operational procedures on the bio-physical environment and on human health and well being”. It also interprets and communicates information about those impacts and investigates and proposes means for their management.
National Environment Policy 2006: The National Environment Policy is a response to our national commitment to a clean environment, mandated in the constitution in Articles 48 A and 51 A (g), strengthened by judicial interpretation of Article 21. It is recognized that maintaining a healthy environment is not the state’s responsibility alone, but also that of every citizen. A spirit of partnership should thus be realized throughout the spectrum of environmental management in the country.
The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000: This is brought to regulate and control noise menace with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise. An area comprising not less than 100 metres around hospitals, educational institutions and courts may be declared as silence area/zone for the purpose of these rules. As per this rule, a loud speaker or a public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from the authority. Also a loud speaker or a public address system shall not be used as per these rules at night (between 10.00 p.m to 06:00 a.m) except in closed premises for communication within. For the purpose of implementation of noise standards, the State Government may categorize the areas into industrial, commercial, residential or silence areas/zones.
The Bio-medical waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998: It is applicable to all persons who generate, collect, receive, store, transport, treat, dispose or handle bio-medical waste. These rules ensure that the bio-medical waste is handled without any adverse effect to human health and environment. As per these rule, segregation of biomedical waste has to be done at the point of generation itself into containers/bags.
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