COVID-19 AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
From now onwards we all must rethink about what we buy, use and manage our consumption of all resource responsibly and not to waste any of the resource which can cause big harm. Even if one person will act wrong with any of the part of the environment the entire nature or biodiversity system will face the negative consequence. The youth must become a good gatekeepers of the green future.
Ritu Pandey and Radhika Singh.
“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth….these are one and he same fight. We must connect all dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health and food security. Solution to one problem must be solutions for all.”BAN KI MOON
Four months has been passed into it, the world is still reeling from the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic. It is definitely clear that we are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75years history of The United Nations that is spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives. No doubt that the pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities and strengths of every country and has taught us a series of lifelong lesson. However, intentionally or unintentionally the pandemic has help the environment to rebuild itself. There are some of the important legislation for environment protection but misfortunately those legislations could not proof itself capable before or even during the covid-19 pandemic, but when the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown which is in 4 Phase due to covid-19 and scheduled to end on 31stJuly2020; there has been a significant changes in our environment.
Environment includes water, air and land as well as the inter-relationship which exist between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property. The Environment issues are harmful effects of human activity. Major current environmental issues may include climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and resource depletion. On 22nd April 2020, we observed the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with online events, posting of posters and pictures but do you people think that it is even helping 1% to develop or to connect a relation with our environment?
The covid-19 pandemic has reduced in global lockdown and sharply curtailing economic activity too. The world economies went from on status to another very quickly, there has been a very significant reduction in economy activity, very large falls in transport in air, roads and railways, and with this have come large falls in air pollution. By reduction of air pollution we can see that the Air Quality Index of Pune is 93, Delhi 72, Maharashtra 58, and Madhya Pradesh 62 as compared to earlier. So we can clearly see the positive effect of lockdown in all over India.
On 18th May 2020; New Delhi- To sustain the environmental gains of the lockdown during normal times, it is important that the state and the union territories should strictly implement relevant rules. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said, “due to the situation arising out of covid-19 there has been significant reduction in industrial activity, vehicular movement and construction activity due to which air and water quality has improved and also he said in letter to the states and UTs, urging them to strive for this benchmark in normal times too; as the normal life resume, it would become more and more challenging to sustain current environment gains but we have a chance to prove that we can have a much improved environment even during normal activities.
This is challenge which will have to be met by state authorities by strict enforcement of environment norms, rules and regulations governing pollution. We must look at the quantum improvement in things like waste management, industrial discharge river quality and emission levels. There was a need for creating more environmental awareness among the people and this is the benchmark that we need to strive for even in the normal times with majority of our activities going on”.
On The World Environment Day, 5th June 2020 there were several factors which were outlined that is in India, satellite data has showed a significant drop in articulate matter or aerosol levels after the lockdown over most parts of the country.
Our field measurement shows that there is a substantial reduction in the concentration of suspended particulate matter(PM), a major component of air pollution, in the atmosphere due to reduced human activities as a consequence of the lockdown, large reduction in air-traffic resulted in a significant reduction in PM and greenhouse gas emission in the upper atmosphere, some of which are already shown to impact the stratospheric ozone layer through self-lofting of these pollutants emitted by airplanes, large reduction in airplane emission would further the recovery of ozone hole.
Also read: Manual Scavenging: The Unvoiced TruthPriyansi Patil
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ASPECT OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
In India, Environment Law is governed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986. There are also individual legislations specifically enacted for the protection of Water, Air, Wildlife, and Forest etc. Ministry of Environment and Forest is the apex administrative body in the country for regulating and ensuring environmental protection and lays down the legal and regulatory framework for the same.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change have been busy permitting controversial projects that could adverse impacts on nature’s bounty. Currently, Environmentalist in India are criticising the government’s continues approval to major industrial projects by relaxing environmental norms. The officials are taking advantage of the pandemic by pushing through projects that could further harm the environment. The Ministry is looking forward to rewrite some of India’s environmental rules.
A new draft policy on assessing the environment impacts issued on 23rd March, 2020. The draft proposed reducing the time allowed for public comment on assessment and allowing more projects to avoid the process entirely. But, the response from the public wasn’t enough. The draft aims at brining those projects under the regulation which have violated the EIA 2006 notification by starting construction work before environmental clearance is granted or by expanding capacity. “Dealing with violation cases” s an entirely new section in the draft notification compared to the EIA notification 2006. The draft further says that no fresh studies by EAC should be asked for unless ‘new facts’ come to the notice and it becomes ‘inevitable’ to seek additional studies.
I think that not all the environmental consequences of the crises have been positive the local waste problems have emerged that the municipalities have suspended their recycling activities because of the fear of covid-19. Food retailers have resumed using plastic bags which are banned in India and also due to lockdown most of the people take away the food delivered in single-use packing. There is extreme loss of business and are shut down also stock markets are down along with falling of carbon emission. Some of the industrial projects have got permission to go ahead and can continue the project which will cause air pollution; with this we can see that government are not able to connect the dots or they are just ignoring the difference between environmental disaster and letting go natural resources in the name of development or covering up of the project or the loss. Unemployment has been reached at its peak level. The world is facing the worst economic crises since 4months.The manufacture demand has been decreased very heavily.
Also, I think that virus has caused many other psychological problems in the people, for example stress, anxiety or any other mental health issue. As the people have no awareness of self-isolation that is people living in their own house like prison, unemployed, load of financial loss, food shortage etc. Such effect can cause big harm to people.
We have never had a better chance to make a greener world. Covid-19 has delivered unusual environmental benefits to all of us. The Year 2020 is time for nature to be more powerful for upcoming years and decades. The covid-19 pandemic has taught us that human health is somewhere linked to the planet’s health. From now onwards we all must rethink about what we buy, use and manage our consumption of all resource responsibly and not to waste any of the resource which can cause big harm. Even if one person will act wrong with any of the part of the environment the entire nature or biodiversity system will face the negative consequence. The youth must become a good gatekeepers of the green future.