Author: Huda Zehra, a student at Unity Degree College, Lucknow

The environment is the surrounding of an organisms. The environment in which the organism lives is made up of different components like air, water, land, etc. These all components are present in fixed proportion to create a balance in the environment for the organisms to live in. Any form of undesirable and unwanted increment and decrement in the proportions of these components can be termed as environmental pollution. This problem is increasing with every passing year. Various types of economic, physical and social troubles take place due to this increasing issue. Environmental pollution is termed as the most important threat to the human race on the planet earth today. 

Pollution is creating sudden unwanted changes in the ecosystem, which is directly or indirectly leaving adverse effects on the lives of the human beings, animals, and plants as well. It also creates an imbalance in the natural system. There are many things which are making our lives easy but they proved to be very harmful to the environment. For example, vehicles leave gases that pollute the air, garbage of industries and household pollute the water as well as the air. Air and water are the two main components on which the survival of the living being is depended, all the lives on the Earth come at a risk when these two things get polluted. Global warming is another cause of headaches for all the human beings worldwide, it is the pollution which is indirectly affecting the change in the weather.

There are various kinds of environmental pollution around us. They all directly or indirectly lay down adverse effect on the lives of the living beings. 

Air pollution: Air pollution is caused by various harmful gases that are released in the air through natural processes and human activities as well. The smoke coming out of industries and vehicles pollute the air. Polluted air mainly affects the eyes and lungs of human beings and animals. The dry farm waste, dry leaves and grass, and coal used as domestic fuels in villages also produce harmful gases. Air pollution also contributes to Acid Rain which destroy the wildlife, water life and forests.

Water pollution: Water pollution is caused by the disposal of the polluted waste products from the industries, households and sewage into the rivers and other water bodies. Agricultural with excess fertilizers and pesticides also pollute the rivers and lakes. Many people die worldwide by consuming contaminated water.

Soil pollution: Soil pollution or land pollution occurs from the deposition of solid waste, components with poisonous chemical compositions, etc. on the open land. Fertility of soil also get effected due to dumping of waste materials such as plastics, polythene, bottles and dead bodies of animals. 

Noise pollution: When the sound becomes intolerance and reason of disturbance, it is termed as noise pollution.  It is caused by the sound of vehicles, loudspeakers, loud music, machinery etc. Various types of serious problems like migraine, depression, hypertension, aggressive behavior, etc. can be caused due to noise pollution. 

The lives of the people and other creatures are directly or indirectly affected by environment pollution.

Effect on Humans: The environmental pollution effects the humans physically and mentally. Effect can be in the form of allergies, asthma, irritation in the eyes and other forms of respiratory infections. 

Effect on Animals: Environmental pollution affects the living atmosphere of the animals, making it toxic for them to live in. Acid Rain make the rivers and seas toxic and polluted for aquatic animals. Nitrogen and phosphorous in water will cause overgrowth to toxic algae, preventing other forms of life to follow their normal course.

Effect on food: Due to contaminated soil and water, crops and agricultural production become poisonous. Due to this, polluted food has an impact on our health,

Effect on climate: Ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, global warming, are examples of environmental pollution. Furthermore, earthquakes, drought, shallow rain or snow, thunderstorms, volcanic eruptions are all caused by climate change entirely by environmental pollution.

Need for pollution control: Pollution control is crucial due to various reasons, including reducing visibility, affecting building and land fertility, and causing economic losses. It also affects natural beauty, such as mountains, rivers, trees, and land. Pollution is the root cause of many diseases, and it is essential to reduce inconvenience and ensure a comfortable and healthy life for people. To combat pollution, we can plant more trees and take care of existing ones, as it is a significant contributor to the loss of natural beauty and the need for environmental protection.

Suggested steps for environmental pollution control: There are some basic steps taken by the government to improve the pollution control. They are as:

Industries can receive technical and financial support for mitigation measures, green technologies, and waste recycling. 

Enforcement of environmental laws, such as 1997’s Environmental Conservation Rules, traffic rules, and hydro-desulphurization, is also crucial. 

The government should promote renewable energy and enforce renewable purchase obligations.

Education and awareness about the environment conservation can be spread through local media, seminars, celebrations, workshops, walks and student competitions.

Environmental Laws in India: The framework of the environmental laws is enacted for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The environmental laws not only responsible to secure the environment from the crises situation but also serve as an important reminder of who and how is allowed to use the natural resources. 

The Water Act (Prevention and control of pollution) of 1974: The Water Act of 1974 prevents and controls water pollution, granting management authority to the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards.

The Air Act (Prevention and control of pollution) of 1981: This Act works to reduce the pollution as well as hazards related to it. It controls and prevents air pollution, aiming to reduce health hazards in Indian cities.

Environment Protection Act of 1986: It provides protection and improvement of the environment, setting standards for pollutants’ emission or discharge.

The Biomedical Waste Rules of 1998: The Biomedical Waste rules,1998 is a legal binding on the health care institutions to streamline the process of proper handling of hospital waste such as segregation, disposal, collection, and treatment,

The Environment (Siting for Industrial Projects) Rules, 1999: These rules lay down detailed provisions relating to the areas to be avoided for siting of industries, precautionary measures to be taken for site selecting.

The Wild life (Protection) Act of 1972: The Indian government has implemented wildlife advisory boards, hunting rules, national parks, sanctuaries, and trade regulations for wild animals. The Indian government has also started some conservation projects under it for endangered species like project Hangul (1970), project Tiger (1973), project Crocodile (1974), Ganges Dolphin (1997) etc.

The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980: The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 combines forest laws, forest transit, and duty livable on timber, ensuring forest preservation through licenses and criminal prosecutions.

Constitutional Provisions related to Environment: The Indian Constitution includes provisions related to the environment, including the right to life and environment protection, equality and equal protection under the law, freedom of speech and expression, and the directive principle of state policy. Article 21 focuses on the right to a dignified life and basic necessities, while Article 14 imposes an obligation on the state to exercise fairness in environmental protection measures. Article 19 addresses noise pollution, while Article 48(A) protects forests and wildlife. Article 32 allows for writ petitions for environmental protection. These provisions aim to ensure a clean and healthy environment for all citizens. M.C Mehta v. Union of India addressed Delhi stone crushing pollution, emphasizing citizens’ right to fresh air and a pollution-free environment to prevent health hazards.

Liability of industries towards Environmental pollution: With the rapid increase in the scientific technology, industries are also developing, which proves to be the main cause of the degradation of the environment. Industries put high impact on the environment which cause various types of pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, thermal pollution and noise pollution. Two major parts of the legislation that held the industries liable for the environmental pollution are the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974

Industries held directly or indirectly liable for the pollution in the environment. Harmful smoky gases pouring out from the factories and industries causes air pollution. The release of contaminated water and dumping of cleansers, salts, colors, acid, plastic and elastic, carbon components, chemical substance etc., cause water pollution. Unplanned industrial growth, insufficient capital for proper waste treatment, usage of old technologies contributes to environmental degradation.

India’s environmental laws emerged from the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment in 1972, with the Water Act of 1974 being the first to be enacted.

The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster in December 1984 exacerbated the challenges of conserving animals, air, water, monuments, and the environment.

Environmental pollution is not only impacting the humans but also animals and many others species. The resources present on our planet are limited but the human wants are unlimited which is also be the cause of the increasing pollution. Industries play a vital role in the increase of the pollution. It is the responsibility of every person to secure the earth from any kind of pollution. We should take preventive measures in order to secure our future generations. The government and NGOs are taking measures to spread the awareness regarding the conservation of our beautiful environment.

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