Judicial approach for Industrial Pollution

The environment is the condition or surroundings where we live, it includes everything that is around us such as air, soil, water, plants, animals, and another organism. Human activities are increasing day by day which is causing tremendous damage to the environment and the concept of environmental protection is not new. Meanwhile, innovations such as nuclear power plants, thermal power plants are creating another threat to the environment by causing different types of pollution. Pollution can be referred to as the release of dirt into the environment making it unsafe and harmful to the existence of another living organism. These dirt materials are called pollutants. WHO (World Health Organisation) considers that only air pollution causes 2% of lung and heart diseases, 5% of lung cancer, and 1% of total chest infections. There are mainly three types of pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution. 

Industries have become the leading cause of pollution these days. Prior to technological development, industries were limited which was the cause of low amounts of pollution, as technology evolved, industrial pollution increased rapidly as the 21st century progressed. Pollution originating from industries is industrial pollution. Industries are continuously releasing their waste materials into the environment without thinking about nature. In general, the problem of industrial pollution demonstrates that it disrupts natural cycles and patterns, resulting in serious consequences for biodiversity. Habitats are being destroyed, animals are vanishing, and the world is finding it more difficult to recover from each natural disaster. Industrial incidents, such as oil spills, explosions, hazardous material leaks, and property damage, are more difficult to clean-up because they have a larger effect in a shorter timeframe.

Causes of Industrial pollution:

  1. Lack of policies

The absence of effective policies and the poor implementation pushing many industries to omit the law made by the Pollution Control Board, which leads to mass pollution, which ultimately harms the living organism.

  1. Unplanned growth

Most industries move forward without plans, and they eventually go against rules and regulations and pollute the environment from both air and water pollution.

  1. Outdated technology

Most factories use the traditional methods of production to avoid high-cost maintenance of newly updated machinery and expansion. Traditional techniques cause large amounts of pollution, which is not good for the environment.

India is one of the few countries that has a provision for environmental protection. The concept of environment was added to the Constitution by the 42nd amendment, which included Article 48A and Article 51A (g). The Indian judiciary in their past judgment broadened the scope of Article 21, which states “right to life and personal liberty” and included protection of the environment as the duty of Indian states. The 42nd amendment increased the concurrent list by adding “forests” and “conservation of wild animals and birds”. The Indian judiciary has shown great concern in environmental issues from the other two organs i.e. “Legislature” and “Executive”. Judicial activism in matters like globalization, privatization, etc. is showing their great concern.

Currently, the Supreme Court is expanding various legal provisions for environmental protection. These new judicial activism-inspired innovations and developments in India have opened up new ways to assist the government to protect us from pollution. Judiciary should direct the legislature and various bodies to enact more stringent rules to take action against industries that do not obey proper procedure and reward those industries that follow all protocols and ban various harmful industrial fuels impose heavy fines to the industries which use them. Now we know in a good way how much industrial pollution is harmful and how industrial pollution plays a big role in polluting the environment. So let us understand more specifically how it damages the environment.

Water pollution:

Pollutants in water bodies cause water pollution. Most industries release their waste materials into natural water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, which causes industrial water pollution. Most of the waste contains heavy metals, organic slung, toxic chemicals, which harm aqua flora and fauna, the same water is used by farmers which degrade the quality of food and cause diseases. The Delhi High court gives one-and-a-half-year jail to the textile owner, for discharging his waste into the river. Justice Sunil Gaur holds the textile owner guilty. The Judiciary should direct all industries to remove or reduce the use of hazardous materials in the process, industries should reuse non-biodegradable and reusable substances such as bubble wrap and polyethylene, advertise waste materials, new technology should be used to produce fewer waste materials.

Soil pollution

Soil pollution is caused by the contamination of man-made chemicals and materials in natural soil, which causes soil erosion. Industries are also discharging their waste into the soil, which is degrading the soil quality, ultimately degrading the agriculture or crop quality of that region. In Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. UOI,

an industry in Udaipur was discharging their waste near the village. The discharge of the sludge changed the color of the soil to red and made the water unfit for drinking and other uses. The court said that the industry should be shut down and should pay compensation under the polluter pays principle. Judiciary must advise the legislature to upgrade and review its policies to control soil pollution. The judiciary should advise the concerned authorities for at least one soil research which should be conducted annually and information should be published. 

Industrial Air Pollution: 

Industrial Air pollution comes from the production of raw materials such as iron and steel from ore, timber from trees, gasoline and other fuels from crude oil, and stone from quarries. Each of these manufacturing processes generates a product as well as several waste products, including air pollutants. People who are exposed to Industrial air pollution suffer from a variety of health problems. Heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory disorders are among the long-term health effects of Industrial air pollution. Global warming, climate change, acid rain, smog effect are some of the serious effects of Industrial air pollution on the environment. 

Two years ago, the Supreme Court banned a highly polluting industrial fuel called pet coke to curb industrial air pollution, which causes a lot of trouble in Delhi-NCR and directed the state government of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to notify the ban immediately. 

In another case, a petition was filed by an environmentalist Rohit Prajapati against the three Gujarat-based industries for violating EIA rules and regulations. The Supreme Court had asked Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd, United Phosphorus Ltd, and Unique Chemicals Ltd, which are all located in Gujarat, to deposit Rs 10 crore each in compensation with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) so that they can use the funds for “restoration and remedial steps” to enhance the quality of the environment in the industrial areas where those industries are situated.

There is also a statement made by the honorable Supreme Court of India that “People, not industries, are more important” while hearing matters stemming from an environmentalist M C Mehta’s 1985 public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR area, and many times The supreme court had taken suo moto cognizance of pollution caused by industries.


The Supreme Court and the High Court are giving different legal provisions for environmental pollution control. The judiciary is trying its best to fill the gap where the legislature has failed to reach. The judiciary’s approach is giving direction to the country with innovation or judicial activism. Indian courts are extremely cautious about environmental harms as they are not easily withdrawn. They are constantly making efforts to create public awareness, regular monitoring, and education about the environment.

Drishti Chhattani
I am a law student pursuing BBA LL.B at ITM University, Raipur. I have a desire to serve the community and to be part of our justice system. I’d always been interested in corporate law and civil law. I love reading, writing, and researching.