India's Environmental laws

Climate change and environmental laws make it mandatory for states to keep their emissions in check. Carbon pollution needs to be slashed. The economy needs to run on clean, renewable energy sources. Climate change is happening fast but it can still be avoided. The worst impacts can be reduced by setting goals and actually working on them. That’s why strong climate laws and goals are the need of the hour.

For, past many years, India has placed forward a number of climate laws, rules, and regulations. Various committees have been put across to look over the climate crisis.

India’s environmental policy:

The Indian constitution lays down all the different laws for climate and the environment. According to the State Policy, “shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country. It is also the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment. Since the 1980s there has been a manifold increase in the environmental policies of the country. The concept of sustainable development is further enhanced by the National Environmental Policy adopted in 2006.

India's Environmental laws _ policy

Ministries and government bodies:

Central Pollution Control Board - CPCB - Environmental laws

The ministry of environment, forest, and climate change looks over the environmental laws of the entire nation. Also, the Central Pollution Control Board (CBFC) and State Pollution Control Board(SBFC) assist the law formation. There are also separate regulatory bodies for varied environmental laws. They have formed a number of sub-bodies for forests, coasts, etc. Importantly the National Green Tribunal, formed in 2010, serves in different tribunal zones. These enforcement agencies and regulated entities.

Some of the most recent environmental laws, like the E-waste Rules, 2016, have a self-declaration mechanism. Although, there are no formal guidelines for any such situations. The bodies do not hesitate for any kind of court proceedings in case of non-compliance.

Environmental permits:

A company is supposed to share its initial plans, manufacturing capacity, pollution load, etc. On the basis of this, companies can obtain the ‘Consent to Establish’. This is followed by the ‘Consent to Operate’. Hence, for operations, multiple permits need to be obtained at State and Central levels. These permits help keep in check the pollution from companies.

Constitutional provisions for environmental laws:

There are certain constitutional provisions that give rights and power to the citizens to help protect the environment:

Article 48a:

According to the article, the State shall endeavor to protect the environment. It also emphasizes on safeguarding the forests and wildlife of the country. Article 48A imposes a duty on State to protect the environment from pollution by adopting various measures.

Article 51a (g):

This article suggests it shall be the duty of each and every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment that includes lakes, rivers, forests, and wildlife. It also focuses on showing compassion towards living creatures.

Article 47:

This article imposes a duty on the State to improve the standards of living of citizens by providing health facilities, proper nutrition, and sanitization and protecting the environment to live safely. It also pressurizes its citizens to be more conscious of the environment.

Article 19 (1) (g):

It permits citizens to carry on any occupation, trade or business. It also enumerates the nature of restriction of the State to prohibit activities that are hazardous to public health.


India’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) outlines the climate actions the country needs to take soon. It includes goals like reducing the emissions intensity of the GDP by 33%-35%. It also aims at creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO2. At the recent UN Climate Action Summit, India announced a target of 450 GW.

Important legislations in India:

1. The national green tribunal act, 2010:

A special act by the parliament of India to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. The five regional benches are in New Delhi, Pune, Bhopal, Chennai, and Kolkata. Article 21 of the Indian constitution also inspires this act as that assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

Pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming. This act sets up a board to look after the same. The board under this law works to prevent and control the harmful effects of air pollution in India. Under this law, the central board and state boards have different powers. The board shall also work to implement nationwide programs to control and prevent air pollution. The law also creates a framework prescribing industries and vehicles a prescribed limit for emissions.

The environmental protection act completely encompasses the rules to save the environment. It gives power to the central government to protect and improve the environment. It can control and reduce pollution from all sources. The government can also restrict the setting and operation of industries on industrial grounds. Eg. there are no industries within a 100km radius of the Taj Mahal to protect the natural settings. The rules of the act lay down procedures for setting standards of emission of pollutants. The last amendment of the act was in 1991.

Any waste that can cause danger to health or the environment can be categorized as hazardous waste. The proper scientific disposal of this kind of waste can minimize the impact on humans and the climate. Recycling is a great option for this waste. Incineration or landfills can further aggravate the problems. Under the rules, a standard operating procedure(sop) is built for authorization.


It is the duty of the government to apply laws and regulations. We all are responsible for these damages. Hence, we should also make [personal efforts. With these rules, awareness about the environment is also important. We can also contribute in a number of ways. We should leave a better earth for our future generations.





Leave a Reply