Environment science /Air, Water & Forest Acts

Air, Water & Forest Acts

Environment constitutes air, water, land, or vegetation. To protect the environment means to take constructive measures to free these natural objects from pollutants. The measures are backed by the constitution and the chief law making forum in a country so as to ensure an expedited and assured implementation of the measures.

An Act provides for the prevention,control and abatement of air pollution, water pollution, and forest degradation.For instance, a number of acts have been enacted to protect and improve air, water and forest in India.

Acts Related to Air Pollution

The Factories Act and Amendment, 1948 was the first to express concern for the working environment of the workers. The amendment of 1987 has sharpened its environmental focus and expanded its application to hazardous Processes.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 provides for the control and abatement of air pollution. It entrusts the power of enforcing this act to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules, 1982 defines the procedures of the meetings of the Boards and the powers entrusted to them.

The Atomic Energy Act, 1982 deals with radioactive waste.

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Amendment Act, 1987 empowers the central and state pollution control boards to meet with grave emergencies of air pollution.

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 states that all hazardous waste is to be properly packaged, labeled, and transported.

Acts Related to Water Pollution

The Indian Fisheries Act, 1897 establishes two sets of penal offences whereby the government can sue any person who uses dynamite or other explosive substance in any way (whether coastal or inland) with the intent to catch or destroy any fish, or poisonous fish in order to kill.

The River Boards Act, 1956 enables the states to enroll the central government in setting up an Advisory River Board to resolve issues in interstate cooperation.

The Merchant Shipping Act, 1970 aims to deal with waste arising from ships along the coastal areas within a specified radius.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act, 1974 establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste into effluent bodies. The CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) was constituted under this Act.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Cess Act, 1977 provides for the levy and collection of cess or fees on water consuming industries and local authorities.

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Cess Rules, 1978 contains the standard definitions and indicates the kind of and location of meters that every consumer of water is required to affix.

The Coastal Regulation Zone, 1991 Notification puts regulations on various activities, including construction. It gives some protection to the backwaters and estuaries.

Acts Related to Forests

The Wildlife Protection Act and Rules, 1973 and Amendment 1991 provides for the protection of birds and animals and for all matters that are connected to it, whether it be their habitat or the waterhole or the forests that sustain them.

The Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules, 1981,provides for the protection of and the conservation of the forests.

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is an act to provide for the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components,and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and knowledge associated with it.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The effects of human activities related to the use of environmental resources on natural environment is called Environmental Impact.The assessment and evaluation of environmental effects of human activities are collectively called Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).Environmental Impact Assessment is, therefore,a method of evaluating environmental consequences such as environmental changes which are likely to be caused by the proposed human activities related to land use changes,construction of dams, reservoirs, roads, rails,bridges, industrial locations, urban expansion,etc. and the possible adverse effects of these environmental changes.

Environmental changes mean environmental degradation and pollution resulting into ecological imbalance and ecosystem disequilibrium. The environmental impact assessment process began with the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the US in 1969.

Objectives of Environmental Impact AssessmentIn view of the colossal damage to the environment, there is a felt need for assessing the environmental impacts of developmental activities. EIA is a tool to anticipate the possible damage to the environment caused by developmental projects and schemes, and propose mitigation measures and strategies.EIA exerts to declare a national policy to encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and environment. It promotes efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and the biosphere, and stimulate the health and welfare of man.It seeks to increase the understanding of ecological system and nature resources important to the nation and to provide for appropriate institutional structure to carry out the objectives.

It provides a broad, integrated perspective of a region about to undergo or undergoing developments. EIA ascertains the cumulative impacts from the multiple development in the region. It establishes priorities for environmental protection. It also identifies the positive and negative aspects of any project as well asassesses the policy options and analyzes the impact on the environment therein.

Projects that require Environmental Clearance

➞Manufacturing Industries.


➞ Thermal Power Plants.

➞River Valley Projects.

➞ Infrastructure and Coastal Regulation


➞ Nuclear Power Projects.

Steps in Environmental Impact Assessment

➞Describe the present environment.

➞Describe the project, including purposes

and needs.

➞Describe the effects of the project.

• Describe the impact, both short term and

long term.

➞Suggest and compare alternatives.


➞Suggest mitigating activities or remedial