Conservation and protection of the environment have been an inseparable part of Indian heritage and culture. Realizing its importance, the Indian State has also enshrined it in the Constitution which requires both the state and the citizen to “protect and improve the environment”.
The liberalization and globalization of the economy makes it imperative that we increase our vigil to ensure that industrial growth is not at the cost of the environment. Natural resources need to be protected and nurtured. Ancient civilizations self-destructed when they over-exploited their resource base.
“Sustainable development” is an ill-defined but catchy phrase. If we interpret it as development which the environment can sustain, which does not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment, which does not over-exploit or destroy the natural resource base, many parts of the country could be identified as unsustainable, even beyond reprieve.
We live and work for a good life, good food, good health. Polluted air and water, shortages of water and fuel do not come under any of these. In which case, is industrialization at the cost of our health and comfort sustainable?
In 1994, the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre published “Environmental Laws of India – A Guide”, which was used in our training programs for a wide cross-section of society – lawyers and law students, environmental activists, NGOs, students, etc. Subsequently, many new provisions have been provided by the Government of India and our law makers: The Green Benches, National Environmental Tribunals, Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, Eco mark, Biosafety Protocol, etc. Amendments have also been introduced diluting or strengthening these laws. Besides, the staff of the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre have, in the course of their training programs, come across new and varied questions, problems and attitudes.
*Note: This publication reflects the concerns of Indian environment. The amendments to the existing legal provision are dynamic and continuous. The readers are advised to refer original bare acts, its latest amendments & interpretations for complete legal angle. This publication was intended to open the gates of environmental legal awareness and a glimpse of the legal and statutory provisions for environmental protection and control.