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Energy & Environment

Environmental Legislation Concerning Fertiliser Industry

Although provisions for environmental regulation and legal action have existed in India for some time in the form of the Factories Act and the Indian Forests Act, rapid industrialization and urbanization found these Acts to be inadequate.  It was, therefore, necessary to have a uniform national law covering broad environmental problems endangering the health and safety of people as well as the protection of flora and fauna.  Consequently, India, which participated in the 1972 United Nations’ Stockholm Conference on Human Environment, decided to implement the decisions of the Conference related to pollution, preservation, and protection of the environment. 

Pollution control to preserve the environment is universally practiced mainly through the development of environmental protection standards, their implementation, and taking legal action against violators.  The environmental protection standards are essential to ensure that the pollutants discharged from the industry into the environment are within the capacity of the environment to assimilate them through natural purification processes. 

In India, the first organization that attended to the need for developing and promoting standards for environmental protection was the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).  The BIS laid down environmental protection (EP) standards even before any legislation in this regard was conceived.  However, the BIS standards are only recommendations and are not legally binding. 

The first legislation came into existence in 1974 specifically to protect the water component of the environment.  This legislation, referred to as the Water (Pollution Prevention and Control) Act, was followed in 1981 by the Air (Pollution Prevention and Control) Act.  The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, an umbrella Act covers all facets of the environment, which the Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991 has been designed to provide immediate relief to the person(s) affected by accidents occurring while handling hazardous substances.  A discussion of these Acts follows.