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Protecting The Environment Through Sustainable Development: With Reference To India

The concepts of environmental protection and Sustainable development is examined in this research article. It is an enormous responsibility to preserve the environment for future generations while meeting the requirements of the current generation. India's environmental pollution has resulted in numerous health problems as well as environmental degradation.

While environmental pollution from the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, industries, and transportation systems contributes to economic development and expansion, it also poses health and environmental risks. This paper discusses a number of environmental protection-related difficulties and problems, as well as how sustainable development might help solve them.

This paper has covered a number of institutional arrangements and policies and programmes, and legal provisions. Social and economic development must occur without causing harm to the environment or natural resources. This paper aims to provide a solution that strikes a balance between developmental activities and environmental protection.

Significant environmental contamination is a result of human development. When damage is sustained by the earth's environment, it impacts human security. There is a relationship between life and the environment. The extinction of life on Earth results from environmental damage. massive use of natural resources, nuclear air pollution, industrial waste, deforestation, contamination of rivers and water supplies, radiation, etc.

The primary cause of environmental pollution is noise pollution. However, concurrently, social and economic. Progress in the nation is essential. For this, sustainable growth is the only viable solution.

Stockholm Conference
Stockholm Conference One aspect of sustainable development is the preservation of the natural world, which includes forests, soils, animals, people, and the atmosphere. Environmental protection is a global priority for all nations. The environmental law was created as a result. With the Stockholm Declaration of 1972, environmental preservation gained international attention. It is regarded as the Magna Carta of sustainable development and environmental preservation.

Stockholm meeting, also known as the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, was an international meeting that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5�16, 1972. This was the first significant UN summit on global environmental challenges. The Stockholm Conference served as the inspiration for the term "sustainable development." A statement was made stating that,

" Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generation ".

The Brundtland Report
The Brundtland Report, published in 1987, introduced the phrase "sustainable development" in a systematic manner. Previously called the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), the Brundtland Commission's goal was to bring nations together to jointly achieve sustainable development. Gro Harlem Brundtland served as the Commission's chairperson.

"Meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is what the Brundtland Report defines as sustainable development. Smt. Indira Gandhi, the former prime minister of India, made it clear in her speech at the Stockholm Conference in 1972 that soil, water, air, land, plants, trees, and other living things are precious natural resources that must be protected for the benefit of future generations.

Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development 2002
Another important step in the direction of a sustainable future was the global endorsement of the Johannesburg Declaration on sustainable development by delegates from all around the world. The Johannesburg Declaration acknowledged the persistent problems with our planet's ecosystem, including depletion of fisheries, climate change, desertification, natural disasters, and pollution of the air, water, and marine environments.

It emphasised how urgent it is to deal with these problems in order to guarantee the sustainable growth of all countries. The declaration emphasised the need for effective, responsible, and cooperative international and regional organisations to support these efforts and stated that the world is capable of achieving sustainable development in environmental law and combating poverty. It demonstrated a common dedication to utilising resources for the advancement of humanity and tackling the urgent issues that cause a threat to the future.

Our fundamental right is the freedom to live in an environment free from pollution. The majority of Southeast Asian nations are still in the early stages of development. Industrialization, which is the primary cause of environmental damage, leads to development. In order to address this problem, scientists have developed a theory known as "sustainable development," which holds that development and ecology should coexist in harmony.

Examples Of Sustainable Development

  • Utilising renewable energy sources for development purposes is the most effective way to stop environmental degradation.
  • As an alternative to using non-renewable fossil fuels as a source of energy, consider solar and wind energy. They are less expensive and better for the environment.
  • Using bio-compost or natural manure as a fertiliser substitute is a great idea. Both soil degradation and pollution are things we can stop.
  • LPG and CNG are excellent substitutes for petrol in cars and for cooking.
  • Planting trees, creating gardens, and rotating crops all allow people to enjoy outdoor pleasure while maximising the development potential of the soil and preventing insects without the need for chemicals.
Environmental protection is now a global issue as well as a national one. The issue of environmental pollution is now widespread. There is no man without nature. Human life is reliant on environmental preservation and ecological balance. If people defend the environment through sustainable development, we can look forward to a better future for future generations.

The global community is increasingly concerned about environmental conservation. The lives of people in other countries are also impacted by environmental pollution, in addition to those who reside in the country where it happens. Every person on the planet and every government in the world has a responsibility to work together to safeguard the environment. Natural resources including land, water, air, plants, and animals make up the environment.

Earthquakes, cyclones, and threats to human life result from environmental imbalances. As a result, the study must highlight environmental vulnerability and its immediate consequences. The current generation bears the obligation of protecting the environment, as failure to do so will result in the absence of future generations. The prerequisite to the right to life is a healthy environment.

Principles Of Sustainable Development

  1. Intergenerational Equity: This concept emphasises that each generation has a right to the benefits of natural resources.
  2. The Precautionary Principle: According to this principle, any human action or activity that negatively impacts the environment ought to be avoided at all costs. The United Nations Environmental Programme includes the precautionary principle.
  3. Polluter pays Principle: The aim of this principle is to hold polluters accountable for both the expense of repairing environmental damage and the compensation they pay to victims. The 'polluter pays' approach is to be incorporated into all environmental policies and regulations of participating nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (O.E.C.D.). The "polluter pays" theory was acknowledged by the European Community in its Action Programme on Environment as a component of its approach to environmental protection.

The following is how the principle is expressed in Article 130 R (2) of the action programme:
  1. Remedial activity is never better than preventive action;
  2. Damage to the environment should be repaired at the source;
  3. The polluter is responsible for covering the costs of the actions done to conserve and protect the surroundings;
  4. The other policies of the European Community should incorporate environmental policy.

The "polluter pays" idea is now a crucial component of the global community's sustainable development The widely recognised idea that individuals who create pollution should pay for the expenses associated with controlling it to avoid harm to the environment or public health is known as the "polluters pays" principle. For example, the safe disposal of a potentially toxic material produced as a by-product of a business's operations is often the responsibility of the factory.

Government Policy To Protect The Environment

In 1992, the Indian government's Ministry of Environment and Forests released a policy statement aimed at reducing pollution. The strategy placed emphasis on the necessity for all members of society to adopt a good mindset in order to prevent pollution. The policy statement established several basic tenets. These include:
  • Preventing pollution at its source;
  • Utilising the greatest technology available;
  • The polluter pays the principal; and
  • Involving the public in decision-making.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control) Act of 1981 were passed in order to implement the terms of the Stockholm Declaration of 1972. The Environment Protection Act of 1986 was passed in response to the December 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy.

Role Of Judiciary

The Indian judiciary is contributing significantly to environmental protection by elevating the significance of sustainable development. In the Indian Council of Environmental Legal Action v. Union of India[1], the Supreme Court ruled that "while economic progress ought not to occur at the expense of ecology or by widely destroying and violating the environment: concurrently, the requirement. The preservation of the environment and ecology shouldn't impede other activities, including the economy.

A dispute occurred over mining in the mountainous terrain in Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra Dehradun vs. State of Uttar Pradesh[2], popularly known as the Doon Valley case. The SC issued an order to halt mining operations, ruling that:
"This will certainly put them through hardship, but it is a necessary cost for preserving and defending the people's right to live in a healthy environment with little disruption of the natural balance and without unnecessary risk to themselves, their cattle, their homes, their agricultural land, or the environment."

The Supreme Court ordered the cessation of mechanical stone crushing operations in and around Delhi, which the World Health Organisation had ranked as the third most polluted city in the world, in the case of M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India [3].

Nonetheless, it acknowledged the significance of stone crushing and released guidelines for site allocation in the recently established "crushing zone" at the Haryana state hamlet of Pali.

It is evident from this that when handling matters involving environmental deterioration, the courts place equal weight on ecology and development. The Supreme Court ruled in A.P. Pollution Control Board v. M.V. Naidu [4]that responsible use of Earth's natural resources is necessary to preserve and improve them for future generations.

The lack of natural resources is a result of urbanisation, industrialization, poverty, and overpopulation. Furthermore, these resources can become severely scarce in the future. It is imperative to devise methods and innovations that would diminish the consumption of natural resources.

In the case of S. Jagannath v. Union of India[5], the Supreme Court used the idea of careful use and protection of natural resources and noted that industry activities contravene this principle and that environmental laws should be dissuaded.

The Indian Handicrafts Emporium v. Union of India [6]case established that the export of indigenous ivory or ivory-related items was forbidden due to their potential to violate the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, as well as the moral claims enshrined in Article 48-A of the Constitution and the principle of natural resource conservation.

The Supreme Court stated in Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India[7] that "in order to maintain ecological balance, the burden of proof that the said balance will be maintained when there is a state of uncertainty due to lack of data or material about the extent of damage or pollution likely to be caused will be maintained, it must inevitably be on the unit or industry that is most prone to produce pollution.

Environmental Protection

Sustainable development and environmental protection are closely related. In order to guarantee sustainable growth inside their borders, the majority of countries have passed environmental protection legislation. Additionally, India passed the Environment Protection Act of 1986. To support sustainable development.

The Environment Protection Act, 1986

The environment is protected and improved upon by the Environment Protection Act, of 1986 (the "Environment Act"). The Environment Act's Section 2(a) defines the Environment as "water, air, and land as well as the relationships that exist between them and other living things, including humans, plants, microorganisms, living things, and property."

The Central Government is authorised by the Environment Act to take the necessary steps to safeguard and enhance the environment's quality. These steps include establishing guidelines for the emissions and discharges of pollutants into the atmosphere by individuals conducting business or other activities, controlling the location of industries; handling of hazardous wastes; and safeguarding the welfare and health of the general people. Every so often, In accordance with the Environment Act, the Central Government notifies parties for the protection of ecologically delicate regions or establishes policies for concerns covered by the Environment Act.

If an individual violates any provision of the Environment Act, they may face imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to Rs one million, or both. If the violation is committed again, there will be an extra punishment of up to Rs 5,000 for each day that the failure or violation persists after the first instance of it is found to have occurred.

Furthermore, the offender faces a maximum sentence of seven years in jail if the infraction is not corrected within a year of the date of conviction.

The main piece of legislation in India is the Environment (Protection) Act, of 1986. In addition, several other laws have been passed to prevent and manage pollution, and individual states have created their own anti-pollution legislation based on regional needs. Ensuring sustainable development is the ultimate goal in preventing environmental degradation and pollution.

Lacunas Of Environment Protection Act

Even with the numerous regulations that India has in place to safeguard the environment, there are still many issues that need to be resolved. The Act of 1986 Protecting the Environment - Four chapters make up the Act's framework. The main negative aspects of metropolitan surroundings, such as traffic, noise, congested mass transit systems, slums, and traffic jams are not covered by the Act, and no plans have been developed for their control, the "plasma" that is at the brink of cutting-edge scientific and technological experiments excludes usage in industry. Penalties for violations of the Act are outlined in Section 15.

For the first time, severe punishments for environmental violations have been specified, including up to five years in prison and a fine of up to one lakh rupees. The press gave this provision a lot of coverage and academic publications that support the ecological cause. The Section was included, possibly, to placate the activists for the environment.

Strangely enough, though, there is no minimum penalty specified. That could have been in the appropriateness of matters if a mandatory minimum of two years of hard incarceration had been stipulated for violations of environmental contamination, given that the goal is to prevent humanity from being on the verge of catastrophe and obliteration.

The "polluter pays principle has been recognised as a fundamental objective of the Government's environmental policy to prevent and control pollution," the Supreme Court stated in M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath[8]. In this instance, the Court noted that the determination of environmental damages needs to be predicated not on the party's claim, but rather on the Court's assessment of the circumstances, bearing in mind elements such as the award's deterrent effect.

The Supreme Court ordered the Central Government to establish an authority under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and grant this authority all the necessary authorities to handle the problem in Vellore Citizens' Welfare Forum v. Union of India produced in the State of Tamil Nadu by tanneries and other polluting businesses. The power thus, will put the "polluter pays" and "precautionary principle" into practice.

Conclusion And Suggestions
The primary causes of India's environmental problems are the country's growing population and economic growth. To ensure environmental preservation and sustainable development, it is crucial to prioritise the:
  • Conservation of flora, animals, forests, and wildlife.
  • Preventing and managing pollution
  • Reforestation and regeneration of areas that have degraded. The laws in place are insufficient to maintain pollution of the environment.
A great deal of awareness is required to prevent environmental damage. The government has enacted numerous laws to combat environmental pollution, however, not all of these laws are strictly enforced. The use of poisonous chemicals and hazardous materials should be minimised, and toxic gas usage should be done carefully to limit pollution of the environment.

It is everyone's duty to protect the environment when they live here on Earth. Surroundings and growth are both essential. It is everyone's obligation to protect the environment. None of these may be exchanged for another on this planet.

  1. 1996 (5) SCC 281
  2. 1989 AIR 594
  3. (1992) 3 SCC 256
  4. (1999(2)SCC 718)
  5. AIR 1997 SC 811
  6. 2003 ALL SCR 291
  7. (2000) 10 SCC 664
  8. 1997 1SCC 388

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