After 23 years of India’s Independence, a Chipko movement was started by a group of Himalayan villagers to stop a group of loggers from cutting down a patch of trees. This movement was started in the year 1973 on the 27th of March. At that time, the Chipko movement becomes the representative of 1970s and 1980s conflicts over forest, fish, and pasture. The only reason behind these conflicts is that urban and industrial development pressures had deprived local communities of access to the resources necessary for their livelihood.
As the country is getting developed according to the change in the time, it is also increasing air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, and harming the wildlife of the country. As in developing the country, humans are not taking care of the animals living in the forest and in improving their livelihood, humans are destroying the forest because of which the movements and conflicts arise between the state and the government. To stop these movements and conflicts, the government enacted an act known as the environment protection act 1986, and after this, the acts like the water pollution act and the air pollution act also came into force.
LAWS APPLICABLE IN INDIA
In our Indian constitution, under part IV of directive principles of state policy Article 48 A and part IVA of fundamental duties, Article 51(A) (g) are given, which are talking about the protection of the environment and wildlife of our country.
Article 48 A of directive principles of state policy says that “the state shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the country’s forest and wildlife”. Part IVA of the constitution lays down the fundamental duties of every person of the country.
Article 51A (g) of Indian Constitution says that It shall be the duty of every citizen of India “to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures”.
In supporting of article 48A, article 47 of the Directive Principles of state policy lays down the duty and says that “the state shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and in particular, the state shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health”.
The improvement of public health also includes the protection and improvement of the environment, without which public health cannot be assured. Protection of environment does not let it keep it clean but also stop the excessive pollution like water noise and air. Article 19(1)(a), along with article 21 of the constitution, grantees a healthy environment and a right to live peacefully.
IMPACT OF ENVIRONMENT ON LIFE
The environment is the most important and beautiful part of this earth. It is the primary source of providing fresh and natural air to us, which keeps us healthy and not only the air we also get food and water from our environment only. Moreover, if we do not take care of the environment, it will become difficult for us to live long and healthy lives. Even at the time of Lord Krishna, he also started prepaying and thanked the Govardhan mountain for giving them food and healthy air and water for their livelihood. So then why we cannot thank our environment for giving us a healthy life instead of destroying it.
In Ratlam Municipality v. Vardhi Chandra, AIR 1980 SC 1622 Justice Krishna Iyer observed: “public nuisance because of the pollutant being discharged by big factories to the detriment of the poorer sections, is a challenge to the social justice component of the rule of law”.
As per Section 277 of Indian Penal Code 1860 : Fouling water of public spring or reservoir.—Whoever voluntarily corrupts or fouls the water of any public spring or reservoir, so as to render it less fit for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
According to Section 278 of Indian Penal Code 1860: Making atmosphere noxious to health.—Whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
Earth is a precious gift of God to us, so we must protect this gift. It is essential for the success of environmental laws to create awareness among the public. Provisions given in the constitution, Indian Penal Code 1860, and environment protection act regarding environment protection can only be successful when the participation of the country’s people rise. At present, Restoring the environment is the only and essential way to improve the polluted environment of the country.