With the increasing industrial growth and development, one of the consequences we often seem to ignore is the generation of waste. If the disposal of such wastes is not regulated and managed properly, it can lead to serious environmental issues. Also, keeping in line with the principle that development and sustainability should go hand-in-hand, it is necessary that a robust system of waste management is set up. In our country, waste management is governed by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) who work together with State Pollution Control Board set up in various States. Certain laws are also present in the legal setup which helps in regulation of waste in India. The National Environment Policy, 2006 laid emphasis not only on disposal of waste but also recycling and treating waste.
This Act was enacted in 1986, and it aims to establish a sufficient protection system. This Act confers powers to the Central Government to regulate all forms of waste. It is one of the primary legislatures to protect the environment and regulation of waste. Some of the important provisions of this Act is given as under- Section 7 of this Act places a principal prohibition on harming the environment by stating that no person carrying any activity should emit or discharge environmental pollutants in excess of the prescribed standards.
Section 9 of the Act states that if any event takes place which harms the environment through any foreseen or unforeseen event, the person responsible for the harm is duty bound to prevent or alleviate the pollutant, discharged as a result of such event. The person is also obliged to inform the proper authorities about the event which may harm the environment.
The Act also contains provisions which remove the corporate veil. In case any environmental offense was committed by a company, with the connivance or consent of any director, manager, secretary or any other officer of the company, they’ll be help personally liable for committing offenses in the name of the company.
Environmental Protection Rules-Commonly known as the Environmental Protection Rules, 1986, these rules were formulated by the government under the power conferred to them by the Environmental Protection Act. Through these powers, the government has the authority to give specific directions, without changing the principle Act.
Management of hazardous waste is a very complex issue. Certain rules and regulations are required, which together form the legal regime. The Rules places an obligation on the occupier of hazardous to safe and sound handling of environmental waste. The occupier is that person under whose charge there is a plant or unit or factory which produces hazardous waste as a result of their operation. The occupier must sell or send the hazardous waste to a re-processor or recycler, who is authorized by the government to dispose of the waste in a safe manner. Any person who is engaged in storage, package, collection, destruction, conversion, processing, etc., also has to take authorization for the State Pollution Board.
With the increasing industrial activities, the need for maintaining a balance between economic growth and environment protection grows. There is an increased focus towards the concept of sustainable development, wherein, both the objectives can be fulfilled simultaneously without hampering the other. Compliance with environmental norms also builds a better brand image of the organization. Apart from that, the rules and laws regarding the management of waste and protection of the environment have become more stringent. No laxity is accepted in the obligation of functioning in an environment-friendly manner. If organizations do not follow the provided norms, their right to carry out business operations can also be revoked by the State. To avoid such sanctions, it is important that organizations approach the issue of environment protection and waste management in an efficient way, and help the society as a whole to develop in a manner, which is sustainable in the longer run.