There are two types of environment – related pollution. The first type of pollution arises due to violation of the environmental laws by business houses, hospitals, industries, municipal authorities, various nursing homes and the general public. The second type of environment pollution is the result of the nature of the law and other problems arising from the environmental deterioration. First kind of pollution is easily understood but second type of pollution certainly requires more elaboration to understand. This can be best understood from the tragedy of gas leakage at Bhopal. We all know that although more than a decade has elapsed but no worthwhile measures have been taken so far to remove the grievances of thousands of affected people.
In other parts of the world also, similar environmental pollution hazards have occurred such as in Chernobyl in Russia, mercury poisoning in Japan, Eire Lake in the United States becoming dead and so on. The most recent is the air pollution disaster of unprecedented magnitude in South – East Asia caused by a combination of drought and the deliberate burning of forests in Indonesia. But what needs to be appreciated is that they have until now more serious consequences from the angle of criminal offenses in poor countries like India.
On environmental pollution, there are many areas of conflict in our country. These conflicts are between the tribal population and the local government. These are towards construction of big dams, electricity power plants, acquiring of forest areas, mining and quarring activities, import of toxic wastes and several urban environmental issues. All such issues are required to be solved with due considerations to the culture and tradition of the local population and the local environmental related problems. Otherwise social tensions are bound to increase. We should not forget the great ‘Chipko’ movement which was started by Chandra Prasad Bhatt in 1973 to save the trees and it clearly depicted the strength of the local population.
The increase in the environment pollution has adversely affected the growth in food production during the present decade the world over wherein India is also no exception. Laster R.Brown in his latest report entitled “The Agricultural Link : How Environmental Deterioration Could Disrupt Economic Progress” has brought out one of the most interesting phenomenon. According to this report, food prospects are affected by all global trends of environmental degradation including deforestation, building up of greenhouse gases, soil-erosion, acquitter depletion over – fishing, air pollution and loss of plant and animal species.
Due to massive overpumping, there is an acute shortage of water in major food producing areas including many parts of India like in Punjab which is considered as the Bread Basket of India. Many factors such as industrialization and increasing population are responsible for this poor ecosystem resulting in an era of food scarcity. The wheat prices have gone up more than fifty percent over the last three years. The doubling of the food grain prices would not affect the rich class but what about the majority of the population of India which is considered below the poverty line. It may happen that they would come on streets due to hazards of environment pollution.
There is a need to search for remedies to reduce the impact of effects of such environment pollution. In this regard, many High Courts in India and even the Supereme Court of India have recently came out with many judgements towards reducing the impacts of environment pollution and thereby stop environmental degradation. In one of the judgements, the Supreme Court of India directed that all industries located in particular industrial zones in Delhi and about seven hundred tanneries in the State of Tamil Nadu to set up common effluent treatment plants. Further the Court has also banned all construction activities within a zone of 500 meters of sea beaches to safeguard the fragile ecosystem of our decaying beaches and thereby save the earth from warming up further due to environment related pollution.
Further, the hospitals and various municipal bodies should be asked to install incineration plants for management of toxic wastes in their respective areas, the handling of which mostly affect the poor. The Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards should be provided with more powers so that they can enforce the environment laws to reduce pollution effectively. Also the corrupt and inefficient people related to enforcement of environment pollution control and who give clearance for industrial projects without really foreseeing the implications on environment, should be punished and kept away from such duties.
The measures to be taken as a remedy for control of environment pollution are many. But the real thing to be noted is, whether all these remedies are followed to check the pollution. In fact, the existing environmental laws need to be made more stringent. Those committing environmental offenses should not only be heavily fined but also sent to prison in case of serious violation. Non-implementation of any orders in this regard from the authorities or judiciary should be viewed as a contempt of court and more & more harsh actions must be taken. Finally, for increasing general awareness about the hazards of environmental pollution and to involve the general public in this mission, crash programmes must be started and organized at various levels.