Laws for Environmental Sustainability in India

In India, there are various Laws have been made in the favor of environment sustainability and its protection, but Today’s scenario has been completely changed thus, environmental pollution is responsible for the climate change and environment degradation. If we are tracing the environmental exploitation from the time of pre-independence since now we can see the things are changing and environment became the victim of man-made development in every field of work for eg- since the invention of car and motor cycle introduced in India its impact directly falls on environmental Air pollution, many industries setup their factories across the India which creates Air pollution and Water pollution together and therefore, resulted humans and animals life in threat. Major diseases it causes and due to this the basic living immunities in people are exploited gradually and sooner and later humans cannot survive anymore if the pollution persisting like this.

Legislation for environmental protection in India (Laws)

Water (prevention and control of pollution Act, 1974)

This act represented India’s first attempt to comprehensively deal with environmental issues. The Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants into water bodies beyond given standards, and lays down penalties for non-compliance. The set up the CPCB (Central pollution control board) which lays down standards for the the prevention and control of water pollution at the state level, the SPCBS (state pollution control board) fuction under the direction of CPCB of the state government.

Water (prevention and control of pollution) case act, 1977

This act provides for a levy and collection of cess on water consumed by industries and local authorities. It aims at augmenting the resources of the central and state boards for prevention and control and water pollution. The water (prevention and control of pollution) were formulated in 1978 for defining standards and indications for the kind of and location matters that every consumers of water is required to install.

Air (prevention and control of pollution) Act 1981

To counter the problems associated with air pollution, ambient air quality standards were established, under the 1981 Act. The Act provides means for the control and abatement of air pollution. The Act seeks to combat air pollution by prohibiting the use of polluting. Under the act establishing or operating of industrial plant in the pollution control area requires consent from state boards. The boards are expected to test the air in the air control areas, inspect pollution control equipment, and manufacturing process.

National Ambient Air quality Standards (NAAQS) for major pollutants were notified by CPCB in April 1994. These are deemed to be levels of air quality necessary with an adequate margin of safety, to protect public health, vegetation and property (CPCB 1995 cited in Gupta 1999). The NAAQS prescribe specific standards for industrial, residential rural and other sensitive have also been developed for iron and steel plants, cement plants, fertilizer plants.

The Air (prevention and control of pollution) Rules formulated in 1982

Procedures for conducting meetings of the boards, the power of the presiding officers, decision-making, the quorum; manner in which the records of the meeting were to be set etc. They also prescribe the manner and the purposes the manner and the purpose of seeking assistance from specialties and the fee to be paid to them.  

 Complementing the above Acts is the Atomic energy Act of 1882, which was introduced and deals with radioactive waste. In 1988, the motor vehicles Act, was enacted to regulate vehicular traffic, besides ensuring proper packaging, labeling and transportation of the hazardous waste. Various aspects of vehicular pollution have also been seen notified under EPA of 1986. Mass emission standards were notified in 1990, which were made more stringent in 1996. In 2000 these standards were revised yet again and for the first time separate obligations for vehicle owners, manufacturers and enforcing agencies were stipulate. In addition, fairly 29, 1999 for the city of Delhi. The notification made it mandatory for car manufacturer to conform to the Euro I and Euro II norms by may 1999 and April 2000, respectively, for new non- commercial vehicle sold in Delhi.

Forest and wildlife

 Flora and fauna are the two main important implements in our environment which helps environment to maintain its sustainability and protection. Government of India enshrined various Laws to the protection of the flora and fauna so that, the ecological balance should be maintained.

  1. The wildlife (protection) Act, 1972 Amendment 1991

The WPA (wildlife protection Act), 1972 provides for protection to listed species of flora and fauna and establishes a network of ecologically-important protected areas. The WPA empowers the central and state governments to declare any area a wildlife sanctuary and closed area. There is a blanket ban on carrying out any industrial activity inside these protected areas. It provides for authorities to administer and implements the Act; regulate the hunting of wild animals; protected specified plants, sanctuaries, national parks and closed areas, restricted trade and commerce in wild life animals or animals article; and miscellaneous matters. The act prohibits hunting of animals except with permission of authorized officer when an animal has become dangerous to human life or property or as disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery (WWF-India, 1999). The near total prohibition on hunting was made more effective by the Amendment Act of 1991.

  1. The forest (conservation ) Act, 1980

This Act was adopted to protected and conserve forests. The act restricted the powers of the state in respect of the state in respect of de-reservation of forests and use of forestland for non-forest purposes the term non-forest purposes includes clearing and forestland for cultivation of cash crops, plantation crops, horticulture or any purposes other than re-offer station).

  1. Environment (protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)

this Act is an umbrella legislation designed to provide a frame work for the co-ordination of central and state authorities  established under the water(prevention and control) Act, 1974 and Air (prevention and control Act, 1981.under this Act, the central government is empowered to take measures necessary to protect and improve the quality of the environment by setting standards for emissions of discharges; regulating the location of industries; management of hazardous wastes, and protection and public health and welfare. From time to time the central government issues notification under the EPA for the protection of ecologically- sensitive areas or issues guidelines for matters under the EPA.

  1. National environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997

This Act provides for the establishment of a National Environment Appellate Authority to hear appeals with respect to restriction of areas in which any industry operation or processes could not carry out subject to certain safeguards under the environment (protection) Act, 1986.

Basically, there are several legislation and those are directly and indirectly deal with hazardous waste. The relevant legislations like factory Act, 1948, the public liability Insurance Act, 1991, the National Environment tribunal Act, 1991, the national environment tribunal Act, 1995 and some notifications under the environmental protection Act of 1986.


 Noise pollution has become a serious problem for human health. The noisy atmosphere in which we are living is an obstacle in securing good health. Noise pollution and environmental noise are hunting human and other organisms. Noise beyond a limit produces many diseases, such as hypertension stress, making people vulnerable to forgetfulness, depression, insomnia, and many other serious ailments. Noise is also very dangerous for nature as a whole because it disturbs the tranquility of all creatures and increase mortality rate in them.

Sources and causes of noise pollution

It divided into two categories

  1. Human sources
  2. Natural sources

Human sources- rapid industrialization, urbanization, use of modern means of transport, population growth, and increase scale of human activities are some of the human factors responsible for noise pollution. Both types of noise pollution, affects sleep, listening ability, physical and mental health.

Natural sources- The natural environment is filled with various sound- thunderstorm, lighting, tornado, cyclone, volcanic eruptions, earthquake, landslides, sounds produced by animals and rapidly falling water.  

 Vehicular source- the modern means of traffic including vehicles such as busses, trucks, scooters, cars motorcycles , trains aircraft, firecrackers, explosives etc, pollute the atmosphere. Sound of other automated vehicles and horn, excessive use of loudspeakers for religious purposes also generating noise.

Industrial noise- industry-businesses, factories and commercial establishment produce a variety of raucous sounds that bumps into our ears and disturb our mind. Noise pollution is an integral part of the industrial environment with heavy machines used in the industries. It on the rise with the increase in industrial urbanization.

Fireworks:  noise pollution inside and outside the house includes car alarms tools, emergency services siren, machines tools, compressed air horn, equipment, megaphone etc.

Recently Supreme Court order on ban on firecrackers– doctors and environmentalist have welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on prohibiting the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR, and expressed the hope that it would ensure a relatively cleaner Diwali this year.

Many other sources are there through which noise pollution created-

Laws on noise pollution

The noise pollution (regulation and control) rules, 2000

The Act specifying the rules and regulations which prohibits the playing of loud music in public places and creates noise pollution. (S.O123(E)- the increase ambient noise level in public places from various sources, inter-alia, industrial activity,(firecrackers and sound producing instruments), generator sets , loud speakers, public address system, music system, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices have deleterious effects on human health and psychological well being of the people; it is considered necessary to regulate and control of noise producing and generating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise.

Restriction on the use of loud speakers/public address system (and sound producing instruments)  

Sec5 (3) – notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (2), the state government may subject to such terms and conditions as are necessary to reduce pollution, permits use of loud speakers or (public address system and the like during night hours) (between 10.00pm to 12.00 midnight) or on during any cultural and religious festive occasion of a limited duration of exceeding fifteen days in all during a calendar year. (The concerned state government shall generally specify in advance, the number and particular of the day on which such exemption would be operative).

Important case Laws on environment pollution

M.C Mehta and Anr.etc vs. Uion of India and ors. ETC 1986 SCR (1) 312”

Discusses the concept of public liability. This case is also known as oleum leakage case. It is a landmark judment in which the principle of absolute liability was laid down by the supreme court of India. The court held that the permission for carrying out any hazardous industry very claose to the human habitation could not be given and the industry was relocated.

 M.C Mehta vs. union of India

 The pride of India and one of the wonders of the world i.e taj mahal, was facing threat due to high toxic emissions from mathura refineries , Iron foundaries, Glass and other chemical industries. The acid rain was a serious threat to the taj mahal on 255 other historic monuments within the taj trapezium. The apex court delivered its historic judgment in 1996 giving various directions including banning the use of coal and cake directing to compressed natural gas (CNG).

The tarun bharat sangh vs. union of India

 A writ petition was filed by the tarun bharat sangh in the supreme court to stop mining activities in the sariska wildlife sanctuary. The court in the case  banned all the mining activities in the sactuary.

Animal welfare board of India vs. nagaraj and ors. (2014) 7 SCC 547”

 The hon’ble supreme court in prohabited jallikattu and other animal races and fights. It was obereved that the bull cannot be performing any act which causes cruelty. The court alluded to the section 3 and section 11 of the prevention of cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 and declare that animal fights incited by humans are illegal.

TN Godavarman thrirumulpad vs. union of India and ors

The livelihood of forest dwellers in the nilgiri region of tamil nadu was affected by the destruction of forests. The supreme court passed a series of diection since 1995, till the final jugement in 2014.

As far as we concerned the present scenario dealing with the environment pollution which leads to global warming other dangerous hazards impact on environment exploitation and its resources. India is one of the countries in the world dealing with pollutions like Air pollution, water pollution, exploitation of environment resources; noise pollution and wildlife etc. government of india took steps to formulated and enshrined many Laws for the sustainability and protection of environment and wildlife. Government made various legislation like- water pollution and control prevention Act, Air prevention and control of pollution Act, the wild life protection Act, forest conservation Act and noise pollution regulation and control rules etc. also government of India has started many wildlife conservation projects like – project tiger, project elephant, project Hangul, Indian crocodile conservation project, GOI-UNDP sea turtle project, Action plan for vulture conservation in India etc.


  1.> divisions> wssd.doc
  3. Environmental Law in india third edition p leelakrishnan
  4. Ibid. for instance, state government, pollution control board and district magistrate. Ibid p76 the court said;’ house of god should be kept peaceful.
  5. Re-numbered and substituted by rule 2(ii) of the noise pollution (regulation and control) rules, 2000 notified vide. Dated 22.11.2000
  6. As published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary. Part II. Section 3(ii) vide so 123(E) dated 14.2.2000 amended by the noise pollution (regulation and control) (Amendment) rules,2000
  7. M.C. Mehta vs.union of india
  8. Tarun bharat sangh vs. union of India

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