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Safeguarding Our Environment In The Face Of Mounting Threats

This research offers to the reader to understand about the current issues and threats faced by our environment and its various measures taken by our government. Whether the measures taken are preventive or aggravated? As India is ranked fourth among the list of countries most affected by climatic change in 2015, it is very pivotal to be well prepared to tackle the issues of climatic changes to prevent the effects of a hazardous disasters.

India has a considerable number of environmental laws such as Environment Protection act (1986), Forest Conservation Act (1980), Wildlife protection act (1972), National Green Tribunal Act (2010), etc. but the question arise whether these laws are implemented appropriately? Whether they are reached to the sight of common man? Are these laws Corrupted? Whether the freebies and incentives provided during natural disasters are really beneficiary or accessible by the people? This study predominantly answers these questions and lays suggestions thereby we would be able to arrive at a distinct knowledge on Environmental threats and its enforcement mechanism in our country.

Our planet with diverse ecosystems, stands at the crossroads. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that nourishes us are facing numerous challenges such as Biodiversity loss, pollution, floods, droughts, etc. The study mainly devolves in the area of climate change which merely refers to the sudden and unpredictable floods and their ultimate causes in the environment which worsens the condition of people during the floods. Additionally the study focus on the legislative and governmental measures implemented during the natural disasters period.

This research is an invitation to embark on a journey to understand the challenges, explore the solutions, and forge a path towards a vibrant future where we will devolve into the vital role of policy and governance, charting pathways for effective environmental regulations and thereby ensure a cooperation in the society.

  1. This research delves into complex interplay between environmental threats and legal protection
  2. Analyzing the strengths and weakness of current environmental laws and its regulations
  3. Investigating the impact of legal measures on environmental outcomes
  4. Modeling and predicting future environmental scenarios

Need For The Study:
Knowing about the place where we survive is utmost important above all, in spite of having eloquent conscious about the threats faced by our environment being inactive is equally responsible for the harms caused in the environment. Thus it is very essential to tackle the environmental threats expeditiously.

Additionally studying environmental laws and their role in protecting the environment is crucial for several reasons:
  1. Addressing critical environmental threats.
  2. Enhancing the work towards a sustainable future where both human and environmental health are protected and secured.
  3. Combatting climatic changes.
  4. Accountability on environmental justice.
  5. To tackle challenging situations of natural disasters.

Thus it is well-clear that studying environmental threats is not just about protecting nature, it's about protecting ourselves and ensuring a thriving future for all. By understanding the legal landscape, we can develop effective laws, hold polluters accountable, adapt to new challenges and now it's time to harness the power of research and legal innovation to chart a course towards a healthier and more sustainable world.

Data Analysis And Interpretation:

  1. The primary source of our findings is Google forms [1]where various responses from individuals are collected related to environmental threats. The secondary source of research are articles where different reasons, needs and consequences have been stated.
The responses collected through Google form include the following:

Recent Environmental Threats:

  • Air quality decline
  • Melting Glaciers
  • Pollution
  • Deforestation
  • Michaung cyclone
  • The oil spill in Chennai's Ennore-Manali
  • Forest fire
  • Climate change

Controversial Opinions on Environmental Laws:

  • 48.3% of the responses express controversial opinions related to environmental laws prevailing in society
  • 44.8% strongly express dissatisfaction about the environmental laws prevailing in society
  • 6.9% are satisfied with the environmental laws already prevailing in society

Suggestions on Freebies and Relief Funds:

  • 44.8% suggest freebies and relief funds may be beneficiary
  • 37.9% strongly suggest freebies and relief funds are beneficiary
  • 17.2% support that freebies and relief funds are not beneficiary

Alternative Solutions for Relief Funds:

  • 17.2% of the responses suggest alternatives to freebies and relief funds
  • Measures such as improving residence and habitat, enhancing the draining system, and ensuring regular maintenance are proposed
  • Government should focus on permanent solutions rather than temporary relief

Alternative Measure for Providing Relief:

  • Permanent relief measures suggested, such as redirecting excess water to water-lack areas or to farmers' fields during floods
  • Advocates for long-term solutions to water management issues

Challenges Faced During Michaung Cyclone:

  • Prolonged power outage
  • Water logging
  • Sewage leaks
  • Poor mobile network
  • Lack of proper transportation
  • Electrocutions and loss of life
  • Shortage of food and essentials

Comparison of 2023 Cyclone and 2015 Flood:

  • 58.6% considered 2023 cyclone better than 2015 flood
  • 41.4% considered conditions worse than 2015

Effectiveness of Relief Funds and Freebies:

  • 82.8% considered government-provided relief funds and freebies during floods do not provide long-term relief

Insufficiency of Water Resources:

  • 72.4% believe there is an insufficient water resource body for storage

Individual Contributions to Prevent Environmental Threats:

  • Suggestions include reducing use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), proper disposal of garbage, promoting afforestation, using renewable energy sources, and supporting wise governance
  • Emphasizes the importance of individual actions in combating environmental issues

Hence in the end we may summarize the following from the responses that safeguarding our environment is not just protecting natural sources but protecting ourselves, it is essential that structuring our environment in such a way it should be ready to tackle all the natural challenges is the best way to protect our environment as a permanent and long term solution.

Environmental Laws:

  1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974[2]:
    • Key provisions:
    • Chapter II: Central and State Boards for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution:
      • Section 3 and 4: Establishes the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at the national level and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) in each state and union territory. Defines their composition, functions, and powers.
    • Chapter IV: Powers and Functions of Boards:
      • Section 18: Allows granting and renewing consent to establish or operate any industry, agricultural operation, or other premises likely to discharge effluents into water bodies.
      • Section 20 to 24: Grant boards powers to collect information, take water samples, enter and inspect premises, and prohibit certain activities like using streams for disposal of pollutants.
      • Section 25 and 26: Regulate new and existing outlets for discharging effluents, setting conditions and standards for their operation.
    • Chapter V: Prevention and Control of Water Pollution:
      • Section 34 to 37: Establish funding mechanisms for CPCB and SPCBs through central and state government contributions.
      • Section 40: Empowers boards to make rules for various aspects of pollution control, like effluent standards, laboratory procedures, disposal methods, and record-keeping.
    • Chapter VI: Penalties and Procedure:
      • Section 66: Specifies various offenses related to violating the Act's provisions, like discharging pollutants without consent, failing to comply with board directions, obstructing inspections, or providing false information.
      • Section 67 and 68: Define penalties for these offenses, including imprisonment and fines.
  2. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (India): [3]
    • Chapter III: Prevention and Control of Air Pollution:
      • Outlines measures for air pollution control like setting emission standards, declaring control areas, and controlling industrial emissions.
    • Chapter IV: Monitoring and Research:
      • Mandates air quality monitoring, analysis, and research to understand and address pollution effectively.

Comparing the tale of two disasters:
Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu in time memorial faced the wrath of severe floods in 2015 and 2023. Despite 8 years gap between these floods there are still many notable common damages faced by the city which is really a devastating and more concerning to the people. This further indicates the sparse development of the country which is a growing concern. The similarities of both the flood are listed below:
  1. Witness of Heavy rainfall: Both 2015 and 2023 witnessed exceptionally heavy rainfall, exceeding 250mm in a single day. This overwhelmed drainage systems and caused waterlogging across the city.
  2. Devastating Infrastructure Damage: Both floods led to widespread damage to infrastructure, including roads, bridges, buildings, and power lines. This caused significant economic losses and disruption to daily life.
  3. Displacement and Disruption: Considerable number of people were forced to expel from their homes and seek temporary shelters in both the floods. Daily life was severely disrupted and displaced with schools, businesses, and transportation services coming to a standstill.
  4. Exposed the city's vulnerabilities: Both floods highlighted Chennai's susceptibility to flooding and emphasized the need for improved flood preparedness and management.
  5. Community Resilience: Despite the devastation, both floods also showcased the resilience and strength of the Chennai community. Many people nearby came together to help one another by providing food, shelter, and other essentials to those affected. Moreover many students too volunteered themselves from various regions to help the residents of Chennai during the 2023 flood.
  6. While the flood shared similarities there were also crucial differences such as:
  7. Enhanced accurate forecast of weather:[4] Primarily, the metrological forecast was bang on and elaborate giving an idea of the path taken by low pressure area leading to the cyclone. Only the time that cyclones spent over Chennai diverged from prediction its spent 16 hours found in the City with non-stop rain for 24 hours. But it is now as the forecast prediction of weather has improved this time it is providing enough time for preparations.
  8. Discharge of reservoirs: the single most crucial factor which ensured that the laws of life was minimal in comparison with the 2015 floods when several hundred died was early precautionary method water discharge from the reservoirs in 2015 a large quantity of water discharge from Chembarambakkam literally overnight which led to extensive flooding along the entire length of the river.
Learned mistakes: The sudden release of excess water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir, without prior warning or gradual outflow, caught the city unprepared whereas in 2023 flood the authorities learned from 2015 mistakes and implemented a more proactive approach.

Recommended Suggestions:
Improving the environment in such a way that it should have a full potential to tackle all the natural disasters and various calamites is the best multifaceted approach and long-term resilience.

The pivotal changes that could be made which would help to attain a better environment include the following:
  1. Implementation of sustainable drainage system which means the drains should be designed with high quality pipes that would sustain faster water flow especially during floods.
  2. The people should be brought out of the fear of water logging (Fluvial Floods) in their houses during floods by improving their residential surrounding.
  3. The Government should maintain a record of Ground floor residents where the water entered their homes during floods and they should be provided with an improved residence by heightening their living area.
  4. The government should strictly prohibit residence in water logging areas, moreover the power of Board to make application [5]to courts for restraining apprehended pollution of water in streams or wells.
  5. To build more natural reservoirs which may help to preserve water during floods and the same can be redistributed to water scarce areas.

Our Environment is the only habitat for humans and other living organisms comprised with astonishing climatic conditions, wide variations, considerable natural resources, etc. thus it is very essential to protect our motherland from various threats. Although our government has made many environmental laws to protect our nature, still our aim toward a sustainable future is unfulfilled.

The major recommendation is that the government should focus mainly on permanent solution which could be attained only by improving the infrastructure of the country, instead of making temporary reliefs by providing freebies is considered only a temporary solution. Thus by making the above stated suggestions effective, we can successfully implement a well-developed environment moving towards a sustainable development.

  • Report from Central pollution control board (CPCB)
  • Professional's bare act- Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
  • The Hindu Newspaper
  • The Water (prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

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