UPSC Ecology And Environment Terms, Conventions, Policies and Reports Notes - Terms, Conventions, Policies And Reports

Notes - Terms, Conventions, Policies And Reports

Category : UPSC

 

Terms, Conventions, Policies & Reports

 

Important Terms

Adaptive radiation:

Evolutionary diversification of a generalized ancestral form with production of a number of adaptively specialized forms. Closely related species look very different, as a result of having adapted to widely different ecological niches.

Agro forestry: An ecologically based farming system that, through the integration of trees in farms, increases social, environmental and economic benefits to land users.

Alien's Rule: Warm-blooded animals (endotherms) from colder climates usually have shorter limbs than do endotherms from warmer climates.

Anthropogenic climate change: Climate change with, the presumption of human influence, usually warming.

Alpha diversity: In ecology, alpha diversity (a-diversity) is the mean species diversity in sites or habitats at a local scale. The term was introduced by R. H. Whittaker together with the terms beta diversity (p-diversity) and gamma diversity (y-diversity).

Allee effect: Concept in population ecology that describes the positive relation between the size of a given population and its growth.

Bagasse: The fibrous residue of sugar cane milling used as a fuel to produce steam in sugar mills.

Beta diversity: (p-diversity or true beta diversity) is the ratio between regional and local species diversity.

Blue water: Collectible water from rainfall; the water that falls on roofs and hard surfaces usually flowing into rivers and the sea and recharging the ground water. In nature the global average proportion of total rainfall that is blue water is about 40%

Biodiversity Hotspot: A biodiversity hotspot is an area with unusual concentration of species, many of which are endemic. It is marked by serious threat to its biodiversity by humans. The concept was given in 1988 by Norman Myers.

Carbon diet: A carbon diet refers to reducing the impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas principally \[C{{O}_{2}}\] production.

Carpooling: Giving people lifts to help reduce emissions and traffic.

Carbon budget: A measure of carbon inputs and outputs for a particular activity.

Carbon credit: A market-driven way of reducing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions; it allows an agent to benefit financially from an emission reduction. There are two forms of carbon credit, those that are part of national and international trade and those that are purchased by individuals. Internationally, to achieve Kyoto Protocol objectives, 'caps' (limits) on participating country's emissions are established. To meet these limits countries, in turn, set 'caps' (allowances or credits: 1 convertible and transferable credit = 1 metric tonne of \[C{{O}_{2}}\]emissions) for operators. Operators that meet the agreed 'caps' can then sell unused credits to operators who exceed 'caps'. Operators can then choose the most cost-effective way of reducing emissions. Individual carbon credits would operate in a similar way cf. carbon offset.

Carbon footprint: A measure of the carbon emissions that are emitted over the full life cycle of a product or service and usually expressed as grams of \[C{{O}_{2}}-e\]

Carbon taxes: A surcharge on fossil fuels that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the Flexible Mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol (IPCC, 2007) that provides for emissions reduction projects which generate Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs) which may be traded in emissions trading schemes.

Debt-f or-Nature Swap: A financial transaction in which a portion of a developing nation's foreign debt is forgiven in exchange for local investments in conservation measures.

Detritivore (detritus feeder): Animals and plants that consume detritus (decomposing organic material), and in doing so contribute to decomposition and the recycling of nutrients.

Dobson unit: Dobson is the most common unit for measuring ozone concentration. One Dobson unit is the number of molecules of ozone that would be required to create a layer of pure ozone 0.01 millimetres thick at a temperature of 0 degree Celsius and pressure of 1 atmosphere.

Ecological niche: The habitat of a species or population within its ecosystem.

Ecological succession: The more-or-less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community with time.

Ecological sustainability: The capacity of ecosystems to maintain their essential processes and function and to retain their biological diversity without impoverishment.

El Nino: A warm water current which periodically flows southwards along the coast of Ecuador and Peru in South America, replacing the usually cold northwards flowing current; occurs once every five to seven years, usually during the Christmas season (the name refers to the Christ child); the opposite phase of an El Nino is called a La Nina.

Extinction event: (Mass extinction, extinction-level event, ELE) - a sharp decrease in the number of species in a relatively short period of time.

Food miles: Food miles is a term which refers to the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer. Food miles are one factor used when assessing the environmental impact of food, including the impact on global warming.

Footprint: (Ecological Footprint) inavery general environmental sense a "footprint" is a measure of environmental impact. However, this is usually expressed as an area of productive land (the footprint) needed to counteract the impact.

Green Star: Green Star is a voluntary sustainability rating system for buildings in Australia. It was launched in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia. The Green Star rating system assesses the sustainability of projects at all stages of the built environment lifecycle.

Gamma diversity: (y-diversity) is the total species diversity in a landscape.

K-selected species: A species that forms a group of strong competitors in a crowded environment and that has fewer but stronger offspring.

Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto agreement: An international agreement signed in Japan in 1997, attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Under the agreement, which has been in force in Ireland since 2005, industrialised countries promised to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions to at least 5% below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012. See also UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Kerbside collection: Collection of household recyclable materials (separated or co-mingled) that are left at the kerbside for collection by local council services.

Keystone species: A species that has a disproportionate effect on its environment relative to its abundance, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and help in determine the types and numbers of various others species in a community.

 

Montreaux Record: It is a voluntary mechanism to highlight specific wetland of international importance under the Ramsar convention, but which are facing immediate challenges. In particular, the Montreux Record is a register of listed Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.

Pantanal: The world's largest wetland is the Pantanal, which covers200,000 square kilometres (during the wet season) through Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, although 80% of it is in Brazil. It is a land of flooded grasslands, savannas and tropical forests.

Rain shadow: Arid or semi-arid climatical conditions of an area due to its position leeward of a mountain range.

Rainwater harvesting: Collecting rainwater either in storages or the soil mostly close to where it falls; the attempt to increase rainwater productivity by storing it in pond ages, wetlands etc., and helping to avoid the need for infrastructure to bring water from elsewhere. Practiced on a large scale upstream this reduces available water downstream.

Soil conditioner: Any composted or non-composted material of organic origin that is produced or distributed for adding to soils, it includes\[<soil\text{ }amendment>\],\[<soil\text{ }additives>\]\[<soil\text{ }improves>\]and similar materials, but excludes polymers that do not biodegrade, such as plastics, rubbers, and coatings.

Source-sink dynamics: A theoretical model used by ecologists to describe how variation in habitat quality may affect the population growth or decline of organisms.

Sustainable consumption: Sustainable resource use - a change to society's historical patterns of consumption and behavior that enables consumers to satisfy their needs with better performing products or services that use fewer resources, cause less pollution and contribute to social progress worldwide.

White goods: Household electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, and dishwashers.

Zero emissions: An engine, motor or other energy source that does not produce any gas or release any harmful gases directly into the environment.

 

Environmental Summits/Conventions

Ramsar Convention, 1971

This convention is adopted for the protection of wetlands, It recognises ecological functions and the economic, cultural, scientific and recreational values of wetlands. Under this, the state parties should designate at least one national wetland of international importance. Parties should assess the impact of any change of use of wetlands, should establish wetland or natural reserves, manage and make wisely use of the migratory stocks of waterfowl (bird) etc.

 

 

The 1972 United Nations Conference on Human Environment

The Conference was organised by the United Nations General Assembly in Stockholm from 5 to 16 June, 1972. It provided a general framework for the preservation and conservation of human environment. It provided common principles to inspire and guide people of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment.

Conservation of environment remained a dominant theme in the conference. Trends underway before the Stockholm Conference relating to marine pollution, trans boundary air and water pollution, and protection of wild and marine endangered species were reinforced. The issue of relationship between development and environmental degradation was only peripherally addressed in the Conference.

The Conference adopted three non-binding instruments:

  1. A resolution on institutional and financial arrangement:
  2. A declaration containing 26 principles: and
  3. An action plan containing 109 recommendations

 

World Heritage Convention, 1972

It highlights the universal value of the cultural and natural heritage. It advocates the international support for maintenance of the World Heritage sites. A state party has an obligation to identify, protect, conserve and transmit to future generations the unique cultural and natural Heritage of that country. Those sites that are nominated by the states will be enlisted on the World Heritage list.

 

World Heritage Sites

The coveted title of a world heritage site is granted by United Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) To qualify for the following toast possess the following attributes: It should represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, exhibit an important interchange of human values over a span of time, be an outstanding example of type of traditional human settlement or land-use, especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change. The following are some of the World Heritage sites in India: Taj Mahal, Ellora Caves, Agra Fort, Ajanta Caves, Mahabalipuram, Sun Temple-Konark, Khajuraho, Fatehpur Sikri,Hampi Monuments, Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Sunderbans National Park, Nanda Devi National Park, Brihadisvara Temple Tanjore, Elephanta Caves, .Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb- Delhi ,Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Mahabodai Temple, Bodh Gaya, Champaner-Pavagadh Park,Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, i.e. Victoria Terminus. Some of the World Heritage sites in the South Asian region include the Archaeological Ruins of Mohenjodaro and Taxila in Pakistan, Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat, Ruins of Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur, Sagarmatha National Park, Royal Chitwan National Park, Lumbini (birthplace of Buddha), Ruined city of Anuradhapura, monumental remains of Polonnaruwa and Galle, the Golden Temple of Dam bulla in Sri Lanka

 

London Dumping Convention, 1972

This Convention is designed to control the dumping of wastes in the sea. It requires the states to limit the dumping of such substances as radioactive material, biological and chemical warfare agents, persistent plastics, heavy metals and toxic organics. In 1993, bans on the ocean disposal of low level radioactive material and industrial wastes were adopted. A protocol was added in 1996. Under this, seven more substances were listed. These substances can be dumped only after getting permission.

 

Marpol Convention, 1973/78

This Convention is aimed at preventing or reducing the discharges (international or accidental) from ships into seas. It greatly limits the amount of oil spill and ship generated waste which can be discharged into the sea. There is a complete ban against dumping in areas designated as special areas, for example, in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

 

CITES, 1973 (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)

Under this convention, parties should identify species that are, or may be threatened by trade. They should also identify those species that may be threatened unless the trade is regulated. The former should be listed in Appendix I and the latter in Appendix-II. Commercial trade is forbidden for species listed in Appendix-I, for example, dolphins and whales. While not banned, the trade is strictly regulated in respect of species listed in Appendix-II.

 

Endangered Species

According to the World Wildlife Fund, by the year 2025 one fifth of the existing species could be extinct. Following" are same of (he endangered species:

Sumatran Tiger: This is listed as critically endangered with the total population estimated at just 400 to 500.lost more than 90% of Its tiger population in the 20th century and there are fewer than 5,000 alive in the wild, mainly in India, China, Siberia and Indonesia. Three of eight tiger subspecies are extinct: the Ball tiger, the Caspian tiger and the Javan tiger.

Sumatran oran-utang: With the forest habitats being cut down or burnt, these species are estimated at 4,000 to 6,000. In 1997, forest fires throughout Indonesia saw many oran-utangs flee into the hands of captors and hunters, although some were relocated to reserves. The species could be extinct by 2010, in case they are not protected.

Northern White Rhino: There are thought to be fewer than 25 northern white rhinos, all in Garamba National Park, Africa, and they are one of the world's 12 most endangered species. The decline has been attributed to poaching by rebel troops in Congo.

Snow leopard: The existing number is estimated to be fewer than 2,500 as the species is declining in China, Russia and Pakistan and is on the verge of extinction in Mongolia, The illegal trade in the bones and body parts for traditional medicines threatens its survival.

Mountain Guerilla: Only 650 are said to be alive in the Virunga range of volcanic mountains on the Borders of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Giant Panda: According to a survey, China's giant panda population is estimated at 160, The Chinese Government established 40 panda reserves, protecting about 45% of the panda habitat.

 

Law of the Sea Convention, 1982 (Parts V & XII)

It seeks to protect and preserve the marine environment. It directs the states to take measures to prevent, reduce and control the marine pollution, protect fragile ecosystems, monitor risk/effects of marine pollution etc. A state should not cause damage to the other states by pollution. It should notify other states where marine environment is in imminent danger. In the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), there should not be over exploration of living resources by the coastal state.

 

Vienna Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985 & Montreal Protocol, 1987

Ozone is a protective layer of the atmosphere. It shields the earth from the Sun's harmful radiation. We all know that CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) deplete ozone. The Vienna Convention, 1985 followed by 1987 Montreal Protocol aims at phasing out the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. The Montreal Protocol sets firm targets for the states for phasing out the CFCs. But it has permitted the developing states to delay their compliance of the protocol. It has also provided for the transfer of necessary technology to the developing states. The convention also restricts the trading of ozone depleting substances.

 

Basel Convention (On the control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes), 1989

Hazardous wastes cause severe damage. Most often these

Hazardous Wastes (hereafter referred as to HW) are exported by the developed states to the developing states. Therefore, this convention has special significance to them. This convention seeks to minimise the level of HW from its source of generation. No export is allowed to the countries which prohibit the HW unless consent is given by them. There should also be no export if there is a reason to believe that these wastes will not be managed by the importer in an environment friendly and sound manner. The availability of disposal facilities in the importing state should be ensured by the exporting state before exporting the HW. State parties should develop and prescribe guidelines for environmentally sound management of HW.

 

Climate Change Convention, 1192

Long term fluctuations in temperature and other aspects are known as climate change. Global warming is a major environment problem shaking the entire world. It is caused due to the GHG (Green House Gas) emissions. According to the United Nations, climate change is "change of climate that is attributed to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods ". This convention aims to stabilise the GHG emissions. The convention lays down general commitments applicable to all (annexed as well as non-annexed) state parties. These are to limit GHG emissions, gather relevant information, develop plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and cooperate in research and development.

 

Under the convention, state parties fall into two categories, Annexed and Non-Annexed states. Annexed states are subdivided into Annex - I (consisting of industrial states, OECD states and economies in transition) and Annex-11 states (consisting only of OECD States). Annex-1 states have specific commitments to bring down their GHG emission to 1990 level. The Annex-11 states also have to bring down the GHG emissions but their baseline limit is not 1990. The baseline can be voluntarily fixed by them. In 1997, Kyoto Protocol was attached to the convention to supplement it. By this, the specific and legally binding targets are fixed for the industrialised states to cut at least 5% from 1990 level. The target period is from 2008 to 2012. The Protocol also suggested the mechanisms for the fulfilment of targets.

 

Biodiversity Convention, 1992

It is the first global treaty which adopted a comprehensive ecosystems approach. Biodiversity is very essential for ensuring sustainable development. Initially the North wanted to declare biodiversity as the Common Heritage of Mankind. But the South refused because it wanted to retain the sovereign supremacy over its biodiversity. The convention outlined 3 objectives:

(1) Conservation of biodiversity.

(2) Sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and

(3) Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of using biodiversity.

 

Under the convention, the states have obligations to develop national programmes for conserving and sustainably using the biodiversity, prepare inventories of bio - resources, take ex-situ & in situ conservation measures, establish a system of protected areas etc; it should be noted that the South is very rich in its biodiversity. Therefore, it has high stakes in this convention.

 

The Cartagena Protocol is an attachment to biodiversity convention. It is based on the precautionary principle. The benefits and dangers of biotechnology are not fully known. Therefore according to this Protocol, adequate measures of protection must be taken in matters of transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms.

 

 

 

UN Convention on Desertification, 1994

States are directed to give priority to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. They have to prepare and implement the national programmes in this regard. The CCD, as it is popularly called, endorses and employs a 'bottom-up' approach to international environmental cooperation. Its activities are related to the control and alleviation of desertification and the effects are to be closely linked to the needs and participation of local land users.

The Parties to the Convention have to make the prevention is desertification a priority in national policies and must promote awareness of desertification among their citizens.

 

Stockholm Convention

Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004, that aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants.

 

COP 1, [1995) at the Berlin Mandate

The first UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) took place during 28 March - 7 April 1995 in Berlin, Germany. It voiced concerns about the adequacy of countries' abilities to meet commitments under the Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

COP 2 (1996) It at Geneva took place in July 1996 in Geneva Switzerland. Its Ministerial Declaration was noted (but not adopted) July 18, 1996, and reflected a U.S. position statement presented by Timothy Wirth, former Under Secretary for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department at that meeting, which:

Accepted the scientific findings on climate change proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its second assessment (1995); Rejected uniform "harmonized policies" in favour of flexibility; Called for "legally binding mid-term targets".

COP 3 (1997) It took place in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. After intensive negotiations, it adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which outlined the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation for Annex I countries, along with what came to be known as Kyoto mechanisms such as emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation. Most industrialized countries and some central European economies in transition (all defined as Annex B countries) agreed to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of an average of 6 to 8% below 1990 levels between the years 2008-2012, defined as the first emissions budget period. The United States would be required to reduce its total emissions an average of 7% below 1990 levels; however Congress did not ratify the treaty after Clinton signed it. The Bush administration explicitly rejected the protocol in 2001.

COP 4 (1998) It took place in November 1998 in Buenos Aires. It had been expected that the remaining issues unresolved in Kyoto would be finalized at this meeting. However, the complexity and difficulty of finding agreement on these issues proved insurmountable, and instead the parties adopted a 2-year "Plan of Action" to advance efforts and to devise mechanisms for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, to be completed by 2000. During COP4, Argentina and Kazakhstan expressed their commitment to take on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation, the first two non-Annex countries to do so.

COP 5, (1999) It took place between October 25 and November 5, 1999, in Bonn, Germany.

COP 6, (2000) The Hague, Netherlands.

COP 6, (2001) Bonn, Germany (resumed from Hague).

COP 7, (2001) Marrakech, Morocco.

COP 8, (2002) In New Delhi, India.

COP 8 adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration that, amongst others, called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimize the impact of climate change on developing countries.

COP 9, (2003) Milan, Italy.

COP 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

COP 11/MOP 1, (2005) Montreal, Canada.

It was the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP-1) to the Kyoto

Protocol since their initial meeting in Kyoto in 1997. It was therefore one of the largest intergovernmental conferences on climate change ever. The event marked the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

COP 12/MOP 2, (2006) Nairobi, Kenya.

COP 13/MOP 3, (2007) Bali, Indonesia.

Agreement on a timeline and structured negotiation on the post-2012 framework (the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) was achieved with the adoption of the Bali Action Plan.

COP 14/MOP 4, (2008) Poznao, Poland.

COP 16/MOP 6, (2010) at Cancun, Mexico.

The outcome of the summit was an agreement adopted by the states' parties that called for the 100 billion USD per annum "Green Climate Fund", and a "Climate Technology Centre" and network. However the funding of the Green Climate Fund was not agreed upon.

COP 17/MOP 7, (2011) in Durban, South Africa

The conference agreed to a legally binding deal comprising all countries, which will be prepared by 2015, and to take effect in 2020. There was also progress regarding the creation of a Green Climate Fund (GCF) for which a management framework was adopted. The fund is to distribute US$100 billion per year to help poor countries adapt to climate impacts 2012.

COP 18/MOP 8, Doha, Qatar

The Conference produced a package of documents collectively titled The Doha Climate Gateway over objections from Russia and other countries at the session. The documents collectively contained: An eight year extension of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020 limited in scope to only 15 % of the global carbon dioxide emissions due to the lack of participation of Canada, Japan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, New Zealand nor the United States and due to the fact that developing countries like China (the world's largest emitter), India and Brazil are not subject to any emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. Language on loss and damage, formalized for the first time in the conference documents. The conference made little progress towards the funding of the Green Climate Fund.

 

The Kyoto Protocol (1997) in Japan

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets binding obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." The Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of September 2011, 191 states have signed and ratified the protocol. The United States signed but did not ratify the Protocol and Canada withdrew from it in 2011. Other United Nations member states which did not ratify the protocol are Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan.

 

 

World Bank's Environmental Agenda

Although the environment is not an explicit part of the World Bank's agenda, it has taken aboard environmental concerns over the last few years. Not only has the Bank spent a lot of money on the environment and brought aboard over 300 specialists, but also it has put together broad environmental objectives. These objectives are:

  1. addressing potentially adverse environmental impacts of World Bank financed activities,
  2. assisting member countries promote environmental protection,
  3. helping member countries to set and implement sound environmental programmes, and
  4. promoting global environmental participation through the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

 

National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017

The National Biodiversity Congress (NBC) 2017 was held in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala. The event is hosted by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. It aims to identify practical, evidence-based case studies at the regional level to support the plan of action.

The focal theme of 2017 NBC was "Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Sustainable Development".

 

Environmental Laws &Acts

Environmental Laws of India

In the Constitution of India it is clearly stated that it is the duty of the state to 'protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country'. It imposes a duty on every citizen 'to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife'. Reference to the environment has also been made in the Directive Principles of State Policy as well as the Fundamental Rights. The Department of Environment was established in India in 1980 to ensure a healthy environment for the country. This later became the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985.

 

The constitutional provisions are backed by a number of laws - acts, rules, and notifications. The EPA (Environment Protection Act), 1986 came into force soon after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and is considered an umbrella legislation as it fills many gaps in the existing laws. Thereafter a large number of laws came into existence as the problems began arising, for example, Handling and Management of Hazardous Waste Rules in 1989.

 

General

The Environment (Protection) Act (1986)

It authorizes the central government to protect and improve environmental quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or restrict the setting and /or operation of any industrial facility on environmental grounds.

 

The Environment (Protection) Rules (1986)

These lay down procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants.

 

The objective of Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules (1989) is to control the generation, collection, treatment, import, storage, and handling of hazardous waste.

 

The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Rules (1989) define the terms used in this context, and sets up an authority to inspect, once a year, the industrial activity connected with hazardous chemicals and isolated storage facilities.

 

The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous Micro-organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules (1989) were introduced with a view to protect the environment, nature, and health, in connection with the application of gene technology and microorganisms.

 

The Public Liability Insurance Act and Rules and Amendment, (1992) was drawn up to provide for public liability insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accident while handling any hazardous substance.

 

The National Environmental Tribunal Act (1995) has been created to award compensation for damages to persons, property, and the environment arising from any activity involving hazardous substances.

 

The National Environment Appellate Authority Act (1997) - has been created to hear appeals with respect to restrictionsof areas in which classes of industries etc. are carried out orprescribed subject to certain safeguards under the EPA.

 

The Biomedical waste (Management and Handling) 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) lay down detailed provisions relating to areas to be avoided for siting of industries, precautionary measures to be taken for site selecting as also the aspects of environmental protection which should have been incorporated during the implementation of the industrial development projects.

 

The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, (2000) apply to every municipal authority responsible for the collection, segregation, storage, transportation. processing, and disposal of municipal solid wastes.

The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules (2000) have been laid down for the regulation of production and consumption of ozone depleting substances.

 

The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules. (2001) - rules shall apply to every manufacturer, importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealer, auctioneer, consumer, and bulk consumer involved in the manufacture, processing, sale, purchase, and use of batteries or components so as to regulate and ensure the environmentally safe disposal of used batteries

 

The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) (Amendment) Rules (2002) lay down such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce noise pollution, permit use of loud speaker or public address systems during night hours (between 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight) on or during any cultural or religious festive occasion

 

The Biological Diversity Act (2002) is an act to provide for the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and knowledge associated with it

 

Forest and wildlife

The Indian Forest Act and Amendment, (1984) is one of the many surviving colonial statutes. It was enacted to 'consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produce, and the duty leviable on timber and other forest produce'.

 

The Wildlife Protection Act, Rules 1973 and Amendment 1991 provides for the protection of birds and animals and for all matters that are connected to it whether it be their habitat or the waterhole or the forests that sustain them.

The Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules, (1981) provides for the protection of and the conservation of the forests.

 

Water

The Easement Act (1882) allows private rights to use a resource that is, groundwater, by viewing it as an attachment to the land. It also states that all surface water belongs to the state and is a state property.

The Indian Fisheries Act (1897) establishes two sets of penal offences whereby the government can sue any person who uses dynamite or other explosive substance in any way (whether coastal or inland) with intent to catch or destroy any fish or poisonous fish in order to kill.

The River Boards Act (1956) enables the states to enroll the central government in setting up an Advisory River Board to resolve issues in inter-state cooperation.

The Merchant Shipping Act (1970) aims to deal with waste arising from ships along the coastal areas within a specified radius.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1974) establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste into effluent bodies. The CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) was constituted under this act.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act (1977) provides for the levy and collection of cess or fees on water consuming industries and local authorities.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Rules (1978) contains the standard definitions and indicate the kind of and location of meters that every consumer of water is required to affix.

The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (1991) puts regulations on various activities, including construction, are regulated. It gives some protection to the backwaters and estuaries.

 

Air

The Factories Act (1948) and Amendment in 1987 was the first to express concern for the working environment of the workers. The amendment of 1987 has sharpened its environmental focus and expanded its application to hazardous processes.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (1981) Act provides for the control and abatement of air pollution. It entrusts the power of enforcing this act to the CPCB.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules (1982) defines the procedures of the meetings of the Boards and the powers entrusted to them.

The Atomic Energy Act (1982) deals with the radioactive waste.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act (1987) empowers the central and state pollution control boards to meet with grave emergencies of air pollution.

The Motor Vehicles Act (1988) states that all hazardous waste is to be properly packaged, labelled, and transported.

 

Environmental Protection Act 1986

In the wake of the Bhopal Tragedy, the Government of India enacted the Environment Protection Act of 1986 under Article 253 of the Constitution. Passed in March 1986, it came into force on 19 November 1986. The purpose of the Act is to implement the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environments they relate to the protection and improvement of the human environment and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property. The Act is an "umbrella" legislation designed to provide a framework for central government coordination of the activities of various central and state authorities established under previous laws, such as the Water Act and the Air Act.

 

National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA): A National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) is a type of plan submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by Least Developed Countries, to describe the country's perception of its most "urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change".

 

National Action Plan on Climate Change

National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) is a comprehensive action plan which outlines measures on climate change related adaptation and mitigation while simultaneously advancing development. The 8 Missions form the core of the Plan, representing multi-pronged, long termed and integrated strategies for achieving goals in the context of climate change. The Eight Missions are: National Solar Mission, National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, National Mission on Sustainable Habitats, National Water Mission, National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, National Mission for a Green India, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and National Mission on Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.

 

Wild Life Protection Act (1972) National Parks, Sanctuaries and other Protected Areas

The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 is the first umbrella act to protect plants as well as animals. It was last amended in 2006 to give statutory status to Project Tiger. The act extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act. It defines five types of protected areas viz. National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Community Reserves, Conservation Reserves and Tiger Reserves. The act has six schedules with varying degrees of protection to different kinds of animals and plants.

 

Wild Life Sanctuary

A wildlife sanctuary is defined by State Government via a notification. There is no need to pass a legislation (act) by the state assembly to declare a wildlife sanctuary. Fixation and alternation of boundary can be done by state legislature via resolution. No need to pass an act for alternation of boundaries. No alternation of boundaries in wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL (National Board of Wildlife) Limited human activities are permitted in the sanctuary.

National Parks

Similar to the Wildlife Sanctuaries, a National Park is defined by state government via notification. The state government can fix and alter boundaries of the National Parks with prior consultation and approval with National Board of Wildlife. There is no need to pass an act for alternation of boundaries of National Parks. No human activities are permitted in a National Park.

 

Similarities / Difference between a National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Similarities: Commercial exploitation of forest produce in both areas is not allowed; except for local communities. No wild mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish, crustacean, insects, or coelenterates listed in four Schedules of the WLPA can be hunted either within or outside both of them, and also other conservation areas.

Difference: No grazing or private tenurial rights land rights are allowed in National Parks. In Wildlife sanctuaries, they may be provided at the discretion of Chief Wildlife warden.

Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves These areas provide a greater role and opportunity for local communities, stakeholders and civil society to protect many areas of conservation value that cannot be designated under strict categories such as wildlife sanctuaries or national parks.

 

Tiger Reserves

Tiger Reserves are declared by National Tiger Conservation Authority via Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 under centrally sponsored scheme called Project Tiger. To declare an area as Tiger Reserve, the state governments can forward their proposals in this regard to NTCA. Central Government via NTCA may also advise the state governments to forward a proposal for creation of Tiger Reserves. Tiger Reserves are managed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). No alternation of boundary can be done without the recommendation of National Board for Wild Life and without the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority.

 

Schedules of the Wild Life Protection Act

There are six schedules in wildlife protection act with varying degrees of protection. Out of the six schedules. Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection and offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties. The penalties for Schedule III and Schedule IV are less and these animals are protected. Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted. Such animals include Common crow. Fruit bats, Mice & Rats only. Schedule VI contains the plants, which are prohibited from cultivation and planting. These plants are as follows:

  • Beddomes' cycad (Cycas beddomei)
  • Blue Vanda (Vanda soerulec)
  • Kuth (Saussurea lappa)
  • Ladies slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.)
  • Pitcher plant (Nepenthes khasiana)
  • Red Vanda (Rananthera inschootiana)

 

Whose permission is needed to hunt a man-eater? India does not have a robust scientific or policy mechanism to minimise tiger human conflicts. A Standard Operating Procedure was released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority a few years back to deal with emergency arising due to straying of tigers to human settlements. The guidelines prohibit killing the tiger unless it has been declared a man-eater. Only the chief wildlife warden of a state can permit hunting of man-eaters.

The Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in 1973 by the Government of India during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's tenure. The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats and also to protect them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the tigers distribution in the country. The projects task force visualized these tiger reserves as breeding nuclei, from which surplus animals would migrate to adjacent forests.

 

Project Tiger's main aim was to:

  • Limit factors that leads to reduction of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat were to be rectified so as to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
  • To ensure a viable population of tigers for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.

 

The Project Elephant

Project Elephant was launched in 1991-92 to assist the States having free ranging populations of wild elephants to ensure the long term survival of identified viable populations of elephants in their natural habitats.

The project is being implemented in the 13 states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

 

Major Activities

  1. Ecological restoration of existing natural habitats and migratory routes of elephants.
  2. Development of scientific and planned management for conservation of elephant habitats and value population of wild Asiatic elephants in India.
  3. Promotion of measures for mitigation of man-elephant conflict in crucial habitats and moderating pressures of human and domestic stock activities in crucial elephant
  4. Strengthening of measures for protection of wild elephants from poachers and unnatural causes of death.
  5. Research on Project Elephant management related issues
  6. Public education and awareness programmes.
  7. Eco-development.
  8. Veterinary care.

India's Elephant Reserves 25 Elephant Reserves (ER & extending over about 58,000 square kilometers (22,393.9 a. mi) have been formally notified by various State Governments till now and consent for establishment of Baitarini ER & South Orissa in Orissa and Ganga-Jamuna (Shiwalik) ER in U.P has been accorded by MOEF.

 

Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981

The Parliament enacted the Air (Prevention and Centrol of Pollution) Act, 1981 to arrest the deterioration in the air quality.

 

The notable points from this act are as follows:

  • The Act makes provisions for the establishing of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at the apex level and State Pollution Control Boards at the state level.
  • The CPCB advises the Central Government on any matter concerning the improvement of the quality of the air and prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. It also helps to plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. It provides technical assistance to and guidance to the State Pollution Control Board. It also lays down the down standards for the quality of air.
  • The SPCBs plan a comprehensive programme for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution and to secure the execution thereof. They also advise the State Government on any matter concerning prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
  • The "air pollutant" means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance (including noise) present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment.

This act provides that the State Government may, after consultation with the State Board, by notification declare any area or areas within the State as air pollution control areas. The state government is also powered to make any alternations in the area pollution control areas such as merging the areas. If the state government, after consultation with the State Board, is of opinion that the use of any fuel or burning of any non-fuel material other than an approved fuel, in any air pollution control area or part thereof, may cause or is likely to cause air pollution, it may, by notification, prohibit the use of such fuel in such area.

  • The further provisions of the act say that no person shall, without the previous consent of the State Board, establish or operate any industrial plant in an air pollution control area. Every person to whom consent has been granted by the State Board, shall comply with the conditions and norms prescribed by the board such as prevention and control of the air pollution. Failure to do so brings penalty including jail term of at least 1.5 years.

 

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act -1974, amended in 1988

This was enacted to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution, and for the maintaining or restoring of wholesome of water in the country. The Central and State Pollution Control Boards have been constituted under section 3 and 4 of the Act respectively. The Act was amended in 1978 and 1988 to clarify certain ambiguities and to vest more powers in Pollution Control Board.

 

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

The PCA Act, 1960 is enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on animals. PCA Act deals with captive and domestic animals. Chapter IV of the act deals with the regulation of experimentation. Chapter V requires mandatory registration of performing animals. It has also established Animal Welfare Board of India as a statutory body providing advice to the Union Government on matters relating to the promotion of animal welfare and animal welfare laws. The important functions of the board include: Recognition of animal welfare organizations providing financial assistance to recognised animal welfare organizations (AWOs). The board prescribes changes to animal welfare laws and rules. It works to raise awareness among the public. As per PCA Act Section 3 and Section 11 (1)(m), it is an offence against a person who incites any animal to fight with a view to provide entertainment. Section 22 of the PCA Act, 1960 deals with restrictions on exhibition and training of performing animals.

The MoEFCC wants to amend the key section 22 of the PCA Act, 1960. It proposes to add a new sub-section to section 22. Since, the subject matter of the issue falls under the concurrent list (entry 17), the Union Government can bring changes to the PCA Act, 1960. The following changes will be made: The amendment to section 22 will allow exhibition of performing animals at events in a manner prescribed by the religion or practiced traditionally as a part of the culture.

 

This will indirectly allow events like Jallikattu of Tamil Nadu, bullock cart races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Gujarat etc.

The events will be allowed to happen with the prior approval of the concerned district authorities and shall be monitored by the state animal welfare boards. The welfare boards have to make sure that unnecessary pain and suffering is not inflicted or caused to the animal during the course of the event. The amendment also seeks to increase the fine for infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals to make it more deterrent.

 

 

National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031

In the first week of February 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) had come up with a draft third National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031. This plan was drafted by a 12 member committee chaired by JC Kala, a former secretary to the ministry. The draft contains detailed recommendations to be followed in the protected areas. Once approved, this plan will replace the second National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016). The first and second National Wildlife Action Plans were adopted in 1983 and 2002 respectively.

 

Salient Features

The key areas of focus of this plan is 17, which includes integration of climate change into wildlife planning, conservation of coastal and marine ecosystem, mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, focus on wildlife health among others.

 

Wildlife Conservation

The draft plan places special emphasis on rehabilitation of threatened species along with conserving their habitats like inland aquatic, coastal and marine ecosystems.

 

Protection of Protected Areas

Protection of protected areas includes ban on certain activities, regulation on tourism and law enforcement.

Ban on certain activities:

  • Mining and big irrigation projects would not be permitted in protected areas and wildlife corridors.
  • The plan asks the environment ministry to work with Ministry of Steel to bar mining activities in Protected Areas and wildlife corridors.
  • Further, it wants proper rehabilitation of degraded and abandoned mining areas.
  • It has classified sand mining as a highly destructive activity in which many stakeholders are involved including politicians.
  • It wants Ministry of water resources to opt for minor irrigation projects instead of big irrigation projects in the protected areas.
  • It has favoured the use of water harvesting units like ponds, check dams, wells etc.

 

Tourism

While the plan encourages tourism in wild life areas, it wants restrictions to be placed on the number of tourists and vehicles entering inside a protected area. It provides for the strict monitoring and regulation of the tourism activities. In case of any conflict between tourism and conservation interests of Protected Areas, the plan categorically favours the conservation interests of Protected Areas. It wants to add emphasis on tourism facilities which are sustainable, eco-friendly, clean and wholesome and moderately priced rather than lavish five star facilities.

 

Law enforcement: The draft calls for setting up of new regional forensic laboratories, a special Tiger protection force, special courts to deal with wildlife crimes such as poaching and smuggling. It has observed that the investigation of wildlife crime still lags behind despite the establishment of the National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and has called for the capacity building of frontline guards and officers responsible for investigating wildlife crimes.

Neglect of Wildlife living outside of the forests

In this draft, wildlife living outside the forest areas has been neglected. Wolves, great Indian bustards, hyenas, leopards, tigers, elephants among others are known to live outside of the forests. The draft is silent about the management of these populations.

 

Regulation of technology

The forest department makes use of drones and camera traps to monitor the protected areas. The draft has ignored the ethical and social consequences of the use of such technologies and has not come up with any framework for self-regulation regarding the usage of such technological instruments. The fact that the use of drones and camera traps may violate the privacy of the local people living in protected areas is completely ignored.

 

Issue of feral dogs and cats

The draft plan is the first national policy which acknowledges the damages caused by the feral dogs and cats in the wildlife habitats. It simply states that the issue must be managed. Apart from that the draft is silent about the suggestive measures which need to be taken to address the issue.

 

Invasion of exotic species

The draft plan wants a national policy to check invasion of exotic species by 2018. But before drafting, it wants a complete inventory and mapping of species and area. Critics argue that preventing invasion of exotic species needs more attention and such efforts should begin immediately. The draft plan instead wants to do mapping first, which seems to be an excuse to delay implementation.

 

Duration of plan

It is viewed that implementing the same plan for conservation for 14 long years will make it ineffective. The plan period must be kept shorter to absorb the contemporary realities and scientific advances.

 

Environmental Policies

National Environment Policy 2006

National Environment Policy 2006 is a response to India's national commitment to a clean environment, mandated in the Constitution in Articles 48 A and 51 A (g), (DPSP) strengthened by judicial interpretation of Article 21. It is recognized that the maintenance of the healthy environment is not the responsibility of the state alone. It is the responsibility of every citizen and thus a spirit of partnership is to be realized through the environment management of the country. Here is the summary of the National Environment Policy 2006:

 

Key Environment Challenges

The key environmental challenges that India faces are related to the nexus of environmental degradation with poverty in its many dimensions, and economic growth. Challenges are intrinsically connected with the state of environmental resources, such as land, water, air, and their flora and fauna.

Drivers of Degradation

Proximate drivers of environmental degradation are population growth, inappropriate technology and consumption choices, and poverty, leading to changes in relations between people and ecosystems, and development activities such as intensive agriculture, polluting industry, and unplanned urbanization Other drivers of degradation are the lack of clarity or enforcement of rights of access and use of environmental resources, policies which provide disincentives for environmental conservation (and which may have origins in the fiscal regime), market failures (which may be linked to shortcomings in the regulators regimes), and governance constraints.

 

Impact on Health

Poor environmental quality has adversely affected human health. Environmental factors are estimated as being responsible in some cases for nearly 20% of the burden of disease in India, and a number of environment-health factors are closely linked with dimensions of poverty (e.g. multinational lack of access to clean energy and water). Interventions such as reducing indoor air pollution, protecting sources of safe drinking water, protecting soil from contamination, improved sanitation measures, and better public health governance, offer tremendous opportunities in reducing the incidence of a number of critical health problems.

 

Objectives of the Policy

  • Conservation of Critical Environmental Resources.
  • Intra-generational Equity.
  • Livelihood Security for the Poor Inter-generational Equity.
  • Integration of Environmental Concerns in Economic and Social Development.
  • Efficiency in Environmental Resource.
  • Use Environmental Governance.
  • Enhancement of Resources for Environmental Conservation

 

Principles of National Environment Policy 2006

The Policy evolved from the recognition that only such development is sustainable, which respects ecological constraints, and the imperatives of justice. The Objectives stated above are to be realized through various strategic interventions by different public authorities at Central, State, and Local Government levels. They would also be the basis of diverse partnerships. The principles followed in the policy are:

  • Human Beings are at the Centre of Sustainable Development Concerns.
  • Right to development must be fulfilled so as" to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.
  • In order to   achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it.
  • Where there are credible threats of serious or irreversible damage to key environmental resources, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
  • In various public actions for environmental conservation, economic efficiency would be sought to be realized.

Impacts of acts of production and consumption of one party may be visited on third parties who do not have a direct economic nexus with the original act. Such impacts are termed "externalities". The National Environment Policy promotes the internalization of environmental costs, including through the use of incentives based policy instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest, and without distorting international trade and investment.

 

Legal Liabilities in the Policy

The environmental redressal mechanism based on doctrines of criminal liability, have not proved sufficiently effective, and need to be supplemented. The policy adopts the civil liability for environmental damage that would deter environmentally harmful actions, and compensate the victims of environmental damage. The alternatives to Civil Liability may also apply viz. Fault Based Liability and Strict Liability. In Fault Based Liability a party is held liable if it breaches a preexisting legal duty, for example, an environmental standard. Strict liability imposes an obligation to compensate the victim for harm resulting from actions or failure to take action, which may not necessarily constitute a breach of any law or duty of care.

 

The Doctrine of Public Trust

As per this doctrine, the State is not an absolute owner, but a trustee of all natural resources, which are by nature meant for public use and enjoyment, subject to reasonable conditions, necessary to protect the legitimate interest of a large number of people, or for matters of strategic national interest.

 

Legislative Reforms

A judicious mix of civil and criminal processes and sanctions will be employed in the legal regime for enforcement, through a review of the existing legislation. The policy calls for identification of the emerging areas for new legislation, due to better scientific understanding, economic and social development, and development of multilateral environmental regimes, in line with the National Environment Policy. It also calls for review the body of existing legislation in order to develop synergies among relevant statutes and regulations.

 

Environment Impact Assessment

The policy focuses on encouraging the regulatory authorities, Central and State, to institutionalize regional and cumulative environmental impact assessments (R/CEIAs) to ensure that environmental concerns are identified and addressed at the planning stage itself.

 

Environmentally Sensitive Zones (ESZs)

The Environmentally Sensitive Zones are the areas with identified environmental resources having "Incomparable Values" which require special attention for their conservation. In order to conserve and enhance these resources, without impeding legitimate socio-economic development of these areas, the National Environment policy aims to identify and give legal status to Environmentally Sensitive Zones in the country having environmental entities with "Incomparable values" requiring special conservation efforts. The policy also envisages formulating area development plans for these zones on a scientific basis, with adequate participation by the local communities.

Desert Habitats

The arid and semi-arid region of India covers 127.3 mha (38.8%) of India's geographical area and spreads over 10 states. The Indian desert fauna is extremely rich in species diversity of mammals and winter migratory birds. However the pressures of a rapidly increasing population on the natural resource base necessitate adoption of innovative and integrated measures for conservation of desert ecosystems. The policy aims at measures such as intensive water and moisture conservation through practices based on traditional and science based knowledge, and relying on traditional infrastructure.

 

Panchayats & Women Participation

The policy aims at working towards giving the legal recognition of the traditional entitlements of forest dependent communities taking into consideration the provisions of the (PESA). This would remedy a serious historical injustice, secure their livelihoods, reduce possibilities of conflict with the forest departments, and provide long-term incentives to these communities to conserve the forests.

 

Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats

This is an umbrella programme for three main schemes to protect the wildlife of the country viz. Project Tiger, Project Elephant and Integrated development of wildlife Habitats. These schemes are implemented as Centrally Sponsored Schemes. Conservation of Natural Resources and Eco-systems This programme aims to conserve the natural resources and eco-system in areas like, corals, mangroves, Bio-spheres, wetland and lakes.

 

Wild-life

The policy aims to expand the Protected Area (PA) network of the country, including Conservation and Community Reserves, to give fair representation to all bio-geographic zones of the country. In doing so, develop norms for delineation of PAs in terms of the Objectives and Principles of the National Environment Policy, in particular, participation of local communities, concerned public agencies, and other stakeholders, who have a direct and tangible stake in protection and conservation of wildlife, to harmonize ecological and physical features with needs of socio-economic development.

 

Wetlands

The Ramsar Convention defines wetlands as, 'areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters', thereby giving a wide scope to the term. Wetlands are under threat from drainage and conversion for agriculture and human settlements, besides pollution. The policy aims at setting up a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for identified valuable wetlands, to prevent their degradation and enhance their conservation. Develop a national inventory of such wetlands.

 

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

The policy aims to revisit the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notifications to make the approach to coastal environmental regulation more holistic, and thereby ensure protection to coastal ecological systems, coastal waters, and the vulnerability of some coastal areas to extreme natural events and potential sea level rise. In pursuance with the Policy CRZ Notification 2011 was released recently.

National Coastal Zone Management Programme

Ministry is implementing a reengineered Coastal Regulation the CRZ Notification 2011 to ensure livelihood security fishing and other local community to conserve and protect Coastal stretches and to promote development based on scientific principles.

 

Another Notification on island Protection Zone is also being implemented for similar purposes for the island of Andaman & Nicobar and the Lakshadweep. Ministry is also implementing a World Bank Assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

 

National Mission for a Green India

With objective to increase the forest cover and also protect the existing forest land, the Ministry has two plan schemes namely, Green India Mission: National Afforestation Programme and intensification of Forest Management.

 

Green India Mission

Green India Mission (GIM) has been initiated by the Ministry of Environment & Forest as one of the eight missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Mission has been approved by the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change on 22nd February 2011 and an amount of Rs.200 crores have been allocated in the budget for the preparatory activities in the year 2011-12 in the Union Budget for the year 2011-12. Total Mission cost is Rs.46, 000 crore over ten years starting from the year 2012-13, coinciding with the 12th and 13th Five year Plan Period. The Mission aims increase forest and tree cover on five million hectare area and to improve quality of forest cover on another five million hectare area as well as to improve ecosystems services, forest based livelihood income of about three million households and to enhance annual \[C{{O}_{2}}\] sequestration.

 

National River Conservation Programme

NRCP covers polluted stretches of 39 rivers in 190 towns in 20 States at a sanctioned cost of Rs.7,639 crore. The main objective of NRCP is to improve water quality of polluted stretches of rivers to acceptable standards by preventing pollution load reaching the rivers by undertaking various pollution abatement works.

 

National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure. 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.

The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same. Initially the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.

 

TSR Subramanian Committee Reports

In August 2014, the NDA Government had set up a high level committee to review the six environment laws in India and recommend specific amendments to bring them in line with current requirements. The Committee was headed by the former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian.

The six laws under review were:

  • Indian Forest Act 1927
  • Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974
  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981
  • Forest Conservation Act 1980
  • Environment (Protection) Act 1986.

 

Initiatives

R20 Regions of Climate Action

R20 Regions of Climate Action is a non-profit environmental organization. It was founded in 2010 by Arnold Schwarzenegger and other global leaders in cooperation with the United Nations. Its mission is to help sub-national governments to implement low-carbon and climate-resilient projects, as well as to share best practices in renewable energy and energy efficiency, in order to build a green economy.

Notes - Terms, Conventions, Policies And Reports
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