International awakening in respect of environmental protection owes its origin to the U.N conference on Human environment at Stockholm in 1972

International awakening in respect of environmental protection owes its origin to the U.N conference on Human environment at Stockholm in 1972”. Discuss and also analyze the influence it had over India and Bangladesh in context to environment protection.

1. Introduction:

International concerns with human rights, health and environmental protection have expanded considerably in the past several decades. In response, the international community has created a vast array of international legal instruments, specialized organs, and agencies at the global and regional levels to respond to identified problems in each of the three areas. Often these have seemed to develop in isolation from one another. Yet the links between human rights, health and environmental protection were apparent at least from the first international conference on the human environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. Indeed, health has seemed to be the subject that bridges the two fields of environmental protection and human rights. At the Stockholm concluding session, the participants proclaimed that Man is both creature and molder of his environment, which gives him physical sustenance and affords him the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. . . . Both aspects of mans environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights even the right to life itself.

2. Environmental Protection System in India

Even before India’s independence in 1947several environmental legislation existed but the real impetus [1]for bringing about a well-developed framework came only after the UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972). Under the influence of this declaration, the National Council for Environmental Policy and Planning within the Department of Science and Technology was set up in 1972. This Council later evolved into a full-fledged Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985 which today is the apex administrative body in the country for regulating and ensuring environmental protection. After the Stockholm Conference, in 1976, constitutional sanction was given to environmental concerns through the 42ndAmendment; this incorporated them into the Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Rights and Duties. Since the 1970s an extensive network of environmental legislation has grown in the country. The pollution control boards (CPCB i.e. Central Pollution [2]Control Board and SPCBs i.e. State Pollution Control Boards) together form the regulatory and administrative core of the sector. A policy framework has also been developed to complement the legislative provisions. The Policy Statement for Abatement of Pollution and the National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development were brought out by the in 1992, to develop and promote initiatives forth protection and improvement of the environment.

2.1) Environmental Law:

The Indian Constitution provides for power sharing between the federal and state governments. Parliament has the power to legislate for the whole country, while the State Legislatures are empowered to make laws only for their Respective territorial jurisdictions. Under Article 246 of the Constitution the subject areas of legislation are divided between the Union and the States into three lists, that is, Union, State, and Concurrent list. Central law prevails over State law in the concurrent list however; State law prevails if it has received Presidential Assent. The Constitution also provides that the Centre may enact laws on State list, after receiving consent from the respective states. After the 1972 UN Conference on Environment and Human Development at Stockholm are the Indian government Incorporated Articles 48A, Article 51A (g), and 253, to the Indian Constitution. On the basis of these Articles, the Indian Parliament enacted the Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1981 (Air Act), and the Environmental Protection Act of 1986.

2.2) Enforcement of Environmental Laws

The established environmental rules and regulations are enforced by the concerned administrative authorities. In addition, they act upon the directions of the courts and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs). Thus, both the ex-post index -ante approaches are playing an active role in improvement of environmental quality in the country. The PCBs, in particular, tries to prevent environmental degradation through formulation of standards, issuance of consents for establishment and operation, closure orders to rogue industries.

2.3) The Water Act:

This is the first law passed in India whose objective was to ensure that the domestic and industrial pollutants are not discharged into rivers, and lakes without adequate treatment. The reason is that such a discharge renders the water unsuitable as a source of drinking water, for the purposes of irrigation and to support marine life. In order to achieve its objective Pollution Control Boards at Central and State levels were created to establish and enforce standards for factories discharging pollutants into bodies of water. The State Boards are empowered tissue [3]Consent for Establishment whenever a firm wanted to establish a new factory and also issue Consent for Operation for existing factories. They were also given the authority to close factories or, in the case of disconnecting power and water supply, issue directions to the concerned Departments for enforcement of Boards standards.

2.4) The Air Act:

[4]The objective of the Air Act of 1981 was to control and reduce air pollution. The working of this Act and the enforcement mechanisms are similar to that of Water Act. What was novel is that the Act also called for the abatement of noise pollution.

2.5) Environmental Protection Act, 1986 (The EP Act)

The objective of the EP Act is to protect and improve the environment in the country. It is an umbrella legislation that consolidated the provisions of the Air and the Water Act. It was environmental disasters that prodded the Indian Government into passing comprehensive environmental legislation, including rules relating to storing, handling and use of hazardous waste.

3. Environmental protection situation in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh is experiencing serious environmental degradation. In many respects, the situation has reached crisis proportionns. Several factors make Bangladesh particularly vulnerable to environmental damage. Yet, environmental degradation is not an inevitable price that Bangladesh has to pay for economic growth. There are examples showing that the goals of environmental protection and economic growth can be complementary. Bangladesh is making some efforts to confront environmental problems. However, these efforts are not proving adequate for the challenge. The underlying cause of the inadequacy is absence of a strong, broad-based social movement for environmental protection in Bangladesh. The common people of Bangladesh because of their link with the traditional mode of life are inherently environment friendly. However, they are also burdened with the daily struggle for survival. The intelligentsia and members of the civil society will have to play a leading role in building up the necessary social movement. The non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) and members of the international environment movement can join the resident Bangladeshis (RB) in this effort. There are some encouraging signs. It is now necessary to build on them. Existing pro-environment forces need to coalesce, enlist new forces, and thus build up a strong, broad-based, social movement for protection of Bangladesh’s environment.

4. Bangladesh lacking in resources to ecology, environmental protection:

Bangladesh is facing huge resource gap to finance massive scaled programmers to protect degrading ecology and dwindling environment due to adverse impacts of climate change. The country requires urgent implementation of such comprehensive short, medium and long term programmers to combat the on-going onslaught of environmental catastrophes side by side conserving the fragile ecology and managing natural resources efficiently. Bangladesh has already scaled up its conservation programmers with her scarce domestic resources for the protection of depleted natural resources in the face of increased disasters and adverse impacts of climate change. But the country also requires massive global support to face these additional stresses on its national budget. The country needs at least US $7 billion for implementing all its climate change, natural resource management and environment programmers already taken. But so far less than US $1 [5]billion could be managed. The rest should come from development partners and international community. The observations came when Director of Washington-based Environment and Climate Change Asia Dr John Michael Kramer called on Chairman of Asia- Pacific Forum of Environment Journalists (APFEJ) and Forum of Environment Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) Quamrul Islam Chowdhury at APFEJ/FEJB office yesterday. “Bangladesh is a frontline country in the face of climate change and needs adequate support for building its resilience power and coping capacity,” said Dr Kramer adding that development partners should come up with necessary financial assistance.

5. Constitution and Environmental Protection

The fundamental rights, the preamble or the state policies in Bangladeshi Constitution do notexpressly mention any right to healthy and clean environment. The approach adopted in Bangladesh is two folded. The lawyers want to amend and develop the existing fundamental rights in order to pressure the government to implement the environmental policies. On the other hand, the judiciary stressed the need of harmonious interpretation of the Constitution to ensure environmental protection. This attitude was reflected in the FAP case, where the judiciary adopted a holistic approach, and while interpreting the fundamental rights, took account of the policy statements, preamble and other provisions of the Constitution. Both the High Court and Appellate Division expanded the meaning of fundamental right to life to include protection and preservation of the ecology and right to have pollution free environment. However, the court declined to interfere with the FAP project as foreign assistance was involved and the whole project was meant to be for the benefit of the public. Moreover, it took account of the substantial amount of money that has been spent and that the project has been partially implemented. From thejudgment, it is not clear how much environmental damage the court was prepared to tolerate in the name of development. Right to property, another fundamental right, implies that an owner is entitled to non-interference in the enjoyment of the property in question, in particular, non-interference by the government Because of the restrictive nature of this right, it has not been used by the court to protect environment. However, the environmentalists believe that a balance between individual ownership and community[6] interests can help to create, interpret and apply property rules effectively to protect ecology. This, in effect, would harmonies enjoyment of our resources today and preservation of resources for our own future enjoyment and for the enjoyment of our descendants. Moreover, the concept of stewardship or trusteeship is well established in common law and could be a useful avenue to protect natural resources and public land. Only in one case in India, the court applied the notion of public trust in protecting and preserving the

6. Conclusion:

Natural resources, in the view of the court, the state is the trustee of all natural resources, which are meant for public use and enjoyment, and it would be unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership. Public at large is the beneficiary of the seashore, running waters, air, forests, and ecologically fragile lands and the trustee is under legal duty to protect the natural resources. The Indian court considered this principle as international concept well established in their national system. Though its status as a customary norm or even as a commonly recognized principle of international law is uncertain, it could help the Bangladeshi court to save the encroachment of open public space, public park and watercourses.

7. Bibliography:

1. MES. 2001. Hydro-morphological dynamics of the Meghna Estuary. Meghna Estuary Study Project. Bangladesh Water Development Board, Ministry of Water Resources. June 2001

2. SURFACE WATER MODELLING CENTRE (SWMC). 1995. Hydraulic modeling study, Final Report. Integrated resources development of the Sunderbans Reserved forest, FAO/UNDP/BGD/84/056.

3. 2001. Population Census, 2001: National Report (Provisional). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Planning Division, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh, 2003

4. P, 2004a. Living in the Coast– Population and Livelihoods, Program Development Office for Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan. February 2004.

5. ESCAP, 1988 in Ali, M. Y., 1997. Fish, water and people. Reflections on inland open water fisheries resources of Bangladesh. The University Press Limited, Dhaka, 1997.

6. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 (Amendment, 1991). It was enacted to augment the resources of the PCBs and to conserve water.

7. FRI, 1994. MacherUporkitnashokerbishcria. Fish Research Institute. The Pioneer Printing Press Limited, Dhaka, 1994

8. PAB, 2004. Consumption of pesticides in Bangladesh. Pesticide Association of Bangladesh, 2004.

9. ParyavaranSurakshaSangarshSamiti v. Union of India & others, W. P. No. 94/ 1990 in the SC.

10. The Citizens’ Forum v. Government of AP and others, (W. P. No. 27917/ 1996, in the HC of

[1]See Prasad, P M: “Environmental Protection: The Role of Liability System in India”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XXXIX, No. 3, January 17, 2004, pp. 257-269

[2]This article imposes a responsibility on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures

[3]Section 25 and 26 of the Act provides for refusal or withdrawal of consent by the Boards. Section 33 of the Act empowers the Boards to make an application for directions to the Court of a Judicial Magistrate, where the Boards apprehend pollution. Section33- A (53 of 1988) further empowers the Boards to direct the closure of polluted .

[4]Under the provisions of the Water and the Air Acts, 1974 and 1981, respectively

[5]. Bangladesh Compendium of Environment Statistics, 2009.Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. February 1999

[6]Forest Resources Management Project. (Unpublished), Bangladesh Forest