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Environmental Protection Act

Environmental Protection Act, 1986 (E . P. A)

An Act to provide for the protection and improvement of environment and for matters connected there with.

WHEREAS the decisions where taken at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June, 1972, in which India participated, to take appropriate steps for the protection and improvement of human environment.

AND WHEREAS it is considered necessary further to implement the decisions aforesaid in so far as they relate to the protection and improvement of environment and prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property

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MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS

NOTIFICATION under Section 3(2) (v) of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Rules 5 (3) (d) of Environment (Protection)Rules, 1986 Prohibiting Industries in Murud-janjira Area in the Raligarh District of Maharastra.

S.O.No.20 (E) – Whereas a notification under sub-rule (3) of the rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 inviting objecting against the imposition of prohibition on the location of all industries in Murud-Janjira area in Raigarh district of Maharastra was published vide No.S.O. 85 (E), dated the 7th September, 1988.

And Whereas all objections received have been duly considered by the Central Government.

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (d) of sub-rule (3) of Rule 5 of the said rules, the Central Government hereby prohibits location of all industries, carrying on of operations or processes in a belt of one kilometre from the high tide mark from the Revdanda Creek at 190 35″) upto Devgarh Point (near Shrivardhan) at 180 O’) as well as in one kilometre belt along the banks of the Rajpuri Creek upto Mhasia, except those industries, operations of precesses which are in connection with the promotion and development of Tourism and those thich are permitted by the Central Government after examining the environment impact.

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How are the terms “environment”, “environmental pollutant”, “environmental pollution” and “hazardous substance” defined under the E.P.A. 1986?

According to Section 2 of E.P.A.
a) “Environment” includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property.

b) “Environmental pollutant” means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance present in such concentration as may be, or tend to be, injurious to environment.

c) “Environmental pollution” means the presence in the environment of any environmental pollutant.

d)  “Hazardous substance” means any substance or preparation which, by reason of its chemical or physico-chemical properties or handling, is liable to cause harm to human beings, other living creatures; plants, micro-organisms, property or the environment.

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What are the general powers of the Central Government under E.P.A. for the protection and improvement of environment?

Section 3. Power of Central Government to take measure to protect and improve the environment 

1. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment pollution.

2. In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), such measures may include measures with respect to all or any of the following matters, namely.

i) Co-ordination of actions by the State Governments, officers and other authorities

a. Under this Act, or the rules made thereunder
or,
b. Under any other law for the time being in force which is relatable to the objects of this Act.

ii) Planning and execution of a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.

iii) Laying down standards for the quantity of environment in its various aspects.

iv) Laying down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources whatsoever. Provided that different standards for emission or discharge may be laid down under this clause from different sources having regard to the quality or composition of the emission lr discharge of environmental pollutants from such sources.

v) Restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards.

vi) Laying down procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution and remedial measures for such accidents.

vii) Laying down procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances.

viii) Examination of such manufacturing processes, materials and substances as are likely to cause environmental pollution.

ix) Carrying out and sponsoring investigations and research relating to problems of environmental pollution.

x) Inspection of any premises, plant, equipment, machinery, manufacturing or other processes, materials or substances and giving, by order, of such directions to such authorities, officers or persons as it may consider necessary to take steps for the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.

xi) Establishment or recognition of environmental laboratories and institutes to carry out the functions entrusted to such environmental laboratories and institutes under this Act.

xii) Collection and dissemination of information in respect of matters relating to environmental pollution.

xiii) Preparation of manuals, codes or guides relating to the prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution.

xiv) Such other matters as the Central Government deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of securing the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.

3.) The Central Government may, if it consider it necessary or expedient so to do for the purposes of this Act, by order published in the Official Gazettee, constitute an authority or authorities by such name or names as may be specified in the order for the purpose of exercising and performing such of the powers and functions (including the power to issue directions under Section 5) of the Central Government under this Act and for taking measures with respect to such of the matters referred to in sub-section(2) as may be mentioned in the order and subject to the supervision and control of the Central Government and the provisions of such order, such authority or authorities may exercise the powers or perform the functions or take the measures so mentioned in the order as if such authority had been empowered by this Act to exercise those powers or perform those functions or take such measures.

Section 4. Appointment of Officers and their powers and functions :

1. Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section(3) of Section 3, the Central Government may appoint officers with such designations as it thinks fit for the purpose of this Act and may entrust to them such of the powers and functions under the Act as it may deem fit.

2. The officers appointed under sub-section(1) shall be subject to the general control and direction of the Central Government or , if so directed by that Government, also of the authority or authorities, if any, constituted under sub-section(3) of Section 3 or of any other authority or officer.

Section 5. Power to give directions :

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law but subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government may, in the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, issue directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such person, officer or authority shall be bound to comply with such directions.

Explanation – For the avoidance of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power to issue directions under this section includes the power to direct

a) The closure, prohibition or regulation or any industry, operation or process.
or,
b) Stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.

Section 6. Rules to regulate environmental pollution :

1. The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules in respect of all or any of the matters referred to in Section 3.

2. In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters, namely:

a.The standards of quality of air, water or soil for various areas and purposes.

b.The maximum allowable limits of concentration of various environmental pollutants (including noise) for different areas.

c.The procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances.

d. The prohibition and restrictions on the handling of hazardous substances in different areas.

e. The prohibition and restrictions on the location of industries and the carrying on of processes and operations in different areas.

f. The procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents which may cause environmental pollution and for providing for remedial measures for such accidents.

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Is pollution of load/soil covered under E.P.A ?

Yes. Because under the E.P.A Environment includes water, air and land.

The sources of land pollution are :

i. The unintended or incidental pollution of soil with man made chemicals.

ii. The spent material from mining, or processing, etc.

iii. The discharge of sewage or waste water from urban areas on the land used for agricultural purposes, particularly that adjoining urban areas.

iv. The indiscriminate disposal of solid waste (refuse).

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What are the requirements that are to be fulfilled under the E.P.A. by persons carrying on any industry, operation etc.?
According to Section 7, no person carrying on any indsutry, operation or process shall discharge or emit or permit to be discharged or emitted any environmental pollutants in excess of such standards as may be prescribed.

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What are the penalties for violation under the E.P.A.?

1. Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the provisions of this Act, or the rules made or orders or directions issued thereunder, shall, in respect of each such failure or contravention, be punishable with imprisonment for a team which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both, and in case the failure or contravention continues, with additional fine which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after the conviction for the first such failure or contravention.

2. If the failure or contravention referred to in sub-section(1) continues beyond a period of one year after the date of conviction, the offender shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.

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Can companies and government departments be also prosecuted under E.P.A.?
Yes.

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What restriction does the E.P.A impose on private citizens with respect to courts taking cognizance of offences under the E.P.A. 1986?
Under this Act no court shall take cognizance of any offence except on a complaint made by any person who has given notice of not less than sixty days, in the manner prescribed, of the alleged offence and of his intention to make a complaint, to the Central Government or the authority or officer authorised as aforesaid.

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What is the effect of Section 24 of the E.P.A with respect to other laws that also deal with environment protection ?
According to Section 24, where any act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this Act and also under any other Act then the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to be punished under the other Act and not under this Act.

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