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Showing posts with label Environment and Pollution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment and Pollution. Show all posts

Environment Organisations in India

  • The Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata.
  • Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata.
  • Forest Survey of India, Dehradun.
  • National Biodiversity Authority , Chennai.
  • Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore
  • Centre for Mining Environment, Dhanbad
  • Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad
  • CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai
  • Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore
  • Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, Delhi
  • Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) set up in New Delhi.
  • Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehra Dun.
  • The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
  • National Coral Reef Research Centre, Port Blair.
  • Central Zoo authority , New Delhi.
  • Animal Welfare Board of India, Chennai.
  • South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, Colombo


Environment - Fellowships and Awards

Instituted in 1987, the  Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar, consisting of a cash component of rupees one lakh, a silver trophy and a citation, is awarded every year to an organisation and to an individual for significant contributions in the field of environment.

The  Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Awards were constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1986 to recognise outstanding contributions of individuals and organisations in the field of afforestation and wastelands development. Starting in 1993, 12 annual awards are given to individuals, educational institutions, panchayats, voluntary agencies, government agencies and the corporate sectors. Each award carries a medallion, a citation and a cash component of Rs 50,000.

The  Mahavriksha Puraskar, instituted by the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB) during 1993-94 is given every year to individuals/organisations for trees of notified species having the largest girth and height and in good health and vigour. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a plaque and a citation.

Rajiv Gandhi Environment Award for Clean Technology instituted in 1993, is given to industrial units that have made significant and measurable contributions towards development of clean technologies and innovative solutions to environmental problems created by industrial operations.

With the objective of encouraging original and applied research among Group ‘A’ scientists in the Ministry of Environment and Forests and its associated offices and autonomous bodies,  Paryavaran Evam Van Mantralaya Vishisht Vaigyanik Puraskar was instituted in 1992-93. The scheme provides every year for two awards worth Rs 20,000 each.

The  Pitambar Pant National Environment Fellowship Award instituted in 1978, is awarded annually to recognise, encourage and support excellence in any branch of research related to environmental science.

In recognition of the  Bishnoi community’s contribution to nature conservation and to encourage studies on desert ecology, the Ministry has instituted a Desert Ecology Fellowship at the University of Jodhpur.

Instituted in 1995, the B.P. Pal National Environment Fellowship Award for Biodiversity is in recognition of significantly important research and development contributions and is intended to encourage talented individuals to devote themselves whole time to R&D pursuits in the field of bio-diversity.

The  Rajiv Gandhi National Wildlife Conservation Award and Salim Ali/ Kailash Sankhla Fellowships were instituted recently by the Ministry for recognising eminent officers and field workers for exemplary work in the field of Wildlife Conservation and Research.

Award in the name of Amrita Devi Vishnoi has been instituted for showing valour and courage in protection of wildlife.


Environmental Information System ( ENVIS )

An Environmental Information System (ENVIS) was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1982 as a decentralised information network for collection, storage, retrieval and dissemination of environmental information. 

Besides the Focal Point in the Ministry, ENVIS network presently consists of 25 subject-oriented centres known as ENVIS Centres, set up in various institutions/organisations of the country in priority areas of environment such as environmentally sound and appropriate technology, bio-degradation of wastes, desertification, estuary, mangroves, coral and lagoons, media and environment, environmental education, solid wastes disposal, animal ecology, Himalayan ecology, etc. 

The Focal Point brings out a quarterly abstracting journal,  Paryavaran Abstracts, containing information about environmental research in the Indian context.

ENVIS has been designated as National Focal Point (NFP) and Regional Service Centre (RSC) for South Asia sub-regional countries by INFOTERRA (an international referral system for sources of information on environment) of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 

The ENVIS network responded to a total of 12,756 queries during 1998-99 about a variety of environmental concerns.  

ENVIS is publishing a quarterly newsletter ‘ENVIRO NEWS’, on a monthly basis. 

The ENVIS has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the UNDP and IDRC-assisted project, ‘Sustainable Development Network Programme (SDNP)’. 


Environmental Research Programmes

The environmental research programme aims at developing strategies for sustainable resource management and creating facilities and trained manpower to conduct research in priority areas.

Research projects are supported under three main schemes: 
(a) Man and Biosphere Programme;
(b) Environment Research Programme; and 
(c) Action-oriented Research Programme for Eastern and Western Ghats. 

Many small, specific research projects are also being supported. Expert Committees and Expert Working Groups make recommendations for undertaking research in priority areas, scrutinise proposals, evaluate progress and recommend suitable mechanisms for implementation of research projects.

Priority areas of research have been identified in five fundamental elements, viz., land, water, air, space and energy. During the year, 45 new projects were sanctioned, 45 were completed and 112 projects were serviced. The entire research programme is being reviewed under a special project funded by the World Bank.

The Framework Convention in Climate Change ratified by 127 countries of the world was ratified by India during 1993.

India participated in the 3rd Conference of Parties to this Convention held in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997 during which a protocol was agreed upon which calls for an average cut in the greenhouse gas emission, of 5.2 per cent below the 1990 levels, to be achieved between 2008 and 2012 AD.

Specific research projects are being sponsored by the Ministry in the area of climate change for taking precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent and minimise the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.

The Asia Least Cost Green House Gas Abatement Strategy Project funded by the Global Environment Facility has been completed.


The GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment, established in 1988, is an autonomous organisation of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for developing strategies, technologies and knowledge base for ecologically sound development of the Himalayan region. 

Besides undertaking actionoriented research projects, the Institute has also installed three weathermonitoring stations for collecting and analysing climatic data of the Himalayan region.

Units of the Institute are located in Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh.

The Ministry also sanctions specific research projects under various programmes such as Biosphere Reserves, Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs, etc. 

The research activities of the National River Action Plan focus on identifying economically viable and technically feasible solutions for controlling the microbial pollution in the rivers.


Forestry research is the primary responsibility of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education located at Dehra Dun. 

The following forestry research institutes and centres under the Council are responsible for undertaking research in their respective eco-climatic zones:

(i) Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun; 
(ii) Institute of Arid Zone Forestry Research, Jodhpur, 
(iii) Institute of Rain and Moist Deciduous Forests, Jorhat;
(iv) Institute of Wood Sciences and Technology, Bangalore;
(v) Tropical Forestry Research Institute, Jabalpur; 
(vi) Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore; 
(vii) Temperate Forest Research Centre, Shimla;
(viii) Centre for Forest Productivity, Ranchi;
(ix) Institute of Social Forestry and Eco-rehabilitation, Allahabad; 
(x) Institute of Forestry Research and Human Resources Development, Chhindwara; and 
(xi) Advanced Centre for Bio-technology and Mangrove Forests, Hyderabad. 

In addition, the Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore, has been transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests from the Ministry of Industry.

Besides forestry research in wood panel products, this Institute imparts training to workers in optimum utilisation of timber.

The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, also undertakes education, training, research and consultancy in forest management.


Research programmes in wildlife are carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore. 

Several projects on habitat evolution, elephant movement, ecology of gharials and turtles, status of endangered species, behavioural ecology, bio-diversity, resource study conservation, ecology and management of specific animals, etc., are being carried out by both these Institutes.


The basic objective of the Natural Resources Management System (NRMS) is the utilisation of Remote Sensing Technology with the conventional methods for optimal use and management of the natural resources of the country.

A Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment advises the Ministry on various aspects relating to the implementation of this scheme.

Specific research projects are also supported under this scheme. Two Sub-committees, the Technical and Financial Sub-Committee and the Forest Sub-committees, help the Standing Committee in its task.


Priority is accorded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to promote environmental education, create environmental awareness among various age-groups and to disseminate information through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) network to all concerned. 

A major initiative to include environment education as a separate and compulsory subject in the educational curricula has been taken by the Ministry at all levels of formal education, i.e., secondary, senior secondary and tertiary levels. 

A discussion paper prepared on strengthening environment education was presented by the Minister for Environment and Forests at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held from 22 to 24 October 1998. The paper was adopted by the Conference. 

The Chief Ministers were urged to introduce environment education in the school curricula from the 1999-2000 academic session.

Maharashtra is the first State to introduce the subject in the school curriculum. 

Special emphasis is given to non-formal environmental education through seminars/symposia/workshops, training programmes, eco-camps, audiovisual shows, etc. The Ministry has been organising a National Environmental Awareness Campaign (NEAC) since July 1986. 

As a part of this campaign, 19 November to 18 December every year is observed as the National Environment Month. The main theme for the 1998 campaign was ‘Keep Our Water Resources Clean’. 

A large number of organisations have been granted financial assistance by the Ministry to organise various activities for creating environmental awareness. The Ministry also provides financial assistance for setting up eco-clubs in schools.

A new scheme, Paryavaran Vahini, was launched in 1992-93 to create environmental awareness and to ensure active public participation by involving the local people in activities relating to environmental protection.

Paryavaran Vahinis are proposed to be constituted in 194 selected districts all over the country which have a high incidence of pollution and density of tribal and forest population.

The Vahinis also play a watch-dog role by reporting instances of environmental pollution, deforestation, poaching, etc. They function under the charge of District Collectors, with the active cooperation of the State/Union Territory governments. This scheme is entirely financed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Seven Centres of Excellence have been set up by the Ministry to strengthen awareness, research and training in priority areas of Environmental Science and Management. These are:
  • Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore;
  • Centre for Mining Environment, Dhanbad; 
  • Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad; 
  • CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai;
  • Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore; 
  • The Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, Delhi, and
  • The Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) set up in New Delhi in 1978,is concerned with the promotion of non-formal education in the area of environment and conservation.
  • Three Regional Museums of Natural History have been established at Mysore, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar. 
  • The Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education is the focal point for forestry education and extension development in the country.
  • The Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehra Dun, imparts in-service professional training to Indian Forest Service (IFS) professionals. State forest service colleges provide training to the officers of the State Forest Service (SFS).
  • The Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore, organises short-term courses in the area of wood science.
  • The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, also provides training in forest management and allied subjects to persons from the Indian Forest Service, forest development corporations, and forest-related industries to develop forestry programmes. 
  • The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, provides in-service training to forest officers, wildlife ecologists and other professionals for conservation and management of the wildlife resources of the country.


National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board

The National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) established in May 1985, was bifurcated into a new Department of Wastelands Development and a National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) in 1992.

While the NAEB is a part of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Department of Wastelands Development has been transferred to the Ministry of Rural Development. 

The responsibilities of the NAEB include promotion of afforestation, tree plantation, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country with special attention to the degraded forest areas and lands adjoining the forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas, as well as the ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, Western Ghats, etc. 

The NAEB seeks to carry out its responsibilities through several schemes such as the integrated afforestation and eco-development project, area-oriented fuelwood and fodder projects, non-timber forest produce (including medicinal plants) scheme, aerial seeding, seed development, technology extension, grants-in-aid to voluntary agencies, etc. 

During the Ninth Five Year Plan, four key elements, viz., Promotion of Joint Forest Management, Micro planning, Incorporation of improved technologies, and Monitoring and Evaluation of projects, will be emphasized while implementing these schemes. 

Eco-task forces of exservicemen have been deployed in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir for undertaking eco-restoration work through afforestation, pasture development and other water and soil conservation measures in selected highly degraded and inhospitable areas of these states.

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence, the Board provided financial assistance to State Forest Departments for distributing seedlings to all Village Panchayats to enable every village to raise a cluster of 50 trees. Wastelands maps on 1:50,000 scale have been prepared for 237 districts of the country using satellite data.

The NAEB has seven Regional Centres located at different universities and national-level institutions of the country.

These centres help the NAEB in promoting extension of replicable technologies and in disseminating research findings to a wider audience. These centres also carry out problemspecific studies and undertake evaluation of NAEB’s programmes in the field.


Central Pollution Control Board

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the national apex body for assessment, monitoring and control of water and air pollution.

The executive  responsibilities for enforcement of the Acts for Prevention and Control of Pollution of Water (1974) and Air (1981) and also of the Water (Cess) Act, 1977 are carried out through the Board.

The CPCB advises the Central Government in all matters concerning the prevention and control of air, water and noise pollution and provides technical services to the Ministry for implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Under this Act, effluent and emission standards in respect of 61 categories of industries have been notified.

Seventeen categories of heavily polluting industries have been identified. They are: cement, thermal power plant, distilleries, sugar, fertilizer, integrated iron and steel, oil refineries, pulp and paper, petrochemicals, pesticides, tanneries, basic drugs and pharmaceuticals, dye and dye intermediates, caustic soda, zinc smelter, copper smelter and aluminium smelter.

Out of a total of 1,551 units identified under these 17 categories, 1,266 units have installed adequate facilities for pollution control and 130 units have been
closed down.

The Central Pollution Control Board, in consultation with State Pollution Control Boards, has identified critically polluted areas in the country which need special attention for control of pollution.

These are:
Vapi (Gujarat), Singrauli (Uttar Pradesh), Korba, Ratlam, Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Digboi (Assam), Talcher (Orissa), Bhadravati (Karnataka), Howrah (West Bengal), Dhanbad (Bihar), Pali and Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Manali and North Arcot (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam and Patancheru, (AndhraPradesh), Chembur (Maharashtra), Najafgarh (Delhi), Govindgarh (Punjab), Udyog Mandal (Kerala) and Parwanoo and Kala Amb (Himachal Pradesh).

The CPCB in collaboration with the SPCBs monitors the quality of fresh water resources of the country through a network of 480 monitoring stations located all over the country. Based on such monitoring, 13 heavily polluted and 26 medium-polluted river stretches have been identified.

Under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring programme, 290 stations covering over 90 towns/cities monitor the ambient air quality of the country.

The Central and State Pollution Control Boards regularly conduct surveys in different cities of the country pertaining to vehicular and noise pollution, sanitation status, status of solid waste, etc.

A survey on the status of solid waste conducted in 299 Class I cities of the country indicates that 62 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the country comes from the 23 metro cities of the country. The average per capita generation of solid waste for Class I cities is about 376 gms per person per day.

A total of 1,532 grossly polluting industries in 24 States/Union Territories have been identified under the National River Action Plan. Comprehensive River Basin Documents for the rivers Ulhas, Brahmaputra, Pennar, Indus Part II, Rishkulya and Chaliyar are being prepared by the Board.

The Central Pollution Control Board has a NGO Cell for interacting with NGOs. Simple water-testing kits are distributed free of cost to selected NGOs and financial assistance provided to them for conducting mass awareness programmes relating to prevention and control of pollution.

The White Paper on status of pollution in Delhi with an Action Plan for its control prepared earlier is being implemented.

The Action Plan contains specific measures for control of pollution relating to vehicular pollution, water pollution, industrial air pollution, solid waste, hospital wastes, industrial hazardous wastes, noise pollution and people’s participation in making Delhi a cleaner city.

Directions have been issued by the National Capital Territory of Delhi for imposing restrictions on all commercial vehicles in Delhi in a time-bound programme beginning from April 1998. Based on the recommendations of a National Level Committee on Noise Pollution, directions have been issued to the State governments to check noise pollution from bursting of crackers.

Apart from introducing unleaded petrol in the National Capital Territory of Delhi from 1 September 1998 and the National Capital Region from 1 January 1999, there is a proposal to promote the use of CNG in buses, private vehicles and taxies.

There is also a proposal to introduce a certain percentage of ethanol/methanol in gasoline so as to reduce the emission of carbonmonoxide and hydrocarbons. It was also proposed to set up a high level body to look into issues concerning vehicle emissions.


International Cooperation

The Ministry of Environment and Forests functions as a nodal agency for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Cooperation Environment Programme (SACEP), and International Centre for Integrated Mountain and Development (ICIMOD), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and various international agencies, regional bodies and multilateral institutions.

India is signatory to the following important international treaties/agreements in the field of environment:

(i) International Convention for the regulation of Whaling;

(ii) International Plant Protection Convention;

(iii) The Antarctic Treaty;

(iv) Convention on Wetlands of international importance;

(v) Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna;

(vi) Protocol of 1978 relating to the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships;

(vii) Vienna Convention for the protection of the Ozone Layer;

(viii) Convention on Migratory Species;

(ix) Basel Convention on Trans-boundary movement of hazardous substances;

(x) Framework Convention on Climate Change;

(xi) Convention on conservation of bio-diversity;

(xii) Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the ozone layer and;

(xiii) International Convention for Combating Desertification.

The Ministry and its agencies receive assistance from various countries such as Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Australia, U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Japan, FRG, etc., on bilateral basis and from several UN and other multilateral agencies such as UNDP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, OECF (Japan) and ODA (U.K.) for various environmental and forestry projects.

Global efforts to protect the ozone layer started in the early seventies leading to the adoption of the Vienna Convention on Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in 1985 and the Montreal Protocol in 1987. 

India acceded to the Montreal Protocol, along with its London Amendment in 1992. To meet the country’s commitment on ODS phase-out under the protocol and to disseminate information on ozone and ODS, the Ministry has established an Ozone Cell.

A newsletter on ozone issues is being published by the Cell every two months and a number of workshops and seminars are also conducted to create awareness about ozone among industries.

UNEP-IE Ozone Action Programme, Paris held its first south-Asia ODS officers Network Meeting in Delhi.

Swiss Development Corporation organised a strategy workshop on service skill development in ecological refrigeration.

The Ministry provides custom/excise duty exemption for ODS phase-out projects and detailed guidelines/procedures have been finalised to grant duty exemption for new investments with non-ODS technologies.

A policy to issue licences for import of ODS has been implemented and the Reserve Bank of India, on the recommendation of the Ministry, has issued instructions to all commercial banks prohibiting finance or refinance of new investment.


Conservation of Water Bodies

National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD)

The National River Conservation Directorate, functioning under the Ministry is engaged in implementing the River and Lake Action Plans under the National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) & National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) by providing assistance to the State Governments.
  • The objective of NRCP is to improve the water quality of the rivers, which are the major water sources in the country, through the implementation of pollution abatement works, to the level of designated best use. So far a total of 35 rivers have been covered under the programme.
  • Major works being taken up under the NRCP include Interception and diversion works to capture the raw sewage flowing into the river through open drains and divert them for treatment. Setting up Sewage Treatment Plants for treating the diverted sewage. Construction of Low Cost sanitation toilets. Construction of Electric crematoria and improved Wood Crematoria to conserve the use of wood, River Front Development, afforestation on the river banks, Public Participation & Awareness etc.
  • Works under Ganga Action Plan Phase-II (presently part of National River Conservation Plan) are taken up in 59 towns along the main stem of river Ganga at an approved cost of Rs.663 crore.
  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests have received financial assistance of Yen 13.33 billion from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) for implementation of Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) Phase II, which is part of the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP).
  • Under the Gomti Action Plan Phase-I, out of 31 sanctioned schemes, 26 schemes have been completed. A total of 42 mid STPs capacity had already been created under this Plan.
  • Besides the river Ganga and its tributaries covered under GAP-I and GAP-II the NRCD has taken up the pollution abatement projects of 14 other States covering 30 rivers and 68 towns.
  • The water quality of river Ganga is being monitored at 27 locations from Rishikesh in Uttarakhand to Uluberia in West Bengal by institutions such as pollution Control Research Institute (Haridwar), CPCB Zonal Office Lucknow, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Patna Univerity and Bidhan Chandra Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Kalyani. As a result of the projects completed under Ganga Action Plan, the water quality of river Ganga has shown a general improvement despite tremendous population growth along the river banks.
  • The water quality monitoring has also been undertaken for rivers namely, Yamuna, Western Yamuna Canal, Gomti, Hindon, Satluj (Punjab) Cauvery (Tamilnadu), Tunga, Bhadra, Tungbhadara in Karnataka and Waterways of Chennai. The numbers of monitoring stations presently are 158 in 10 rivers which include 27 stations set up in the upper reaches of Ganga and 32 stations of Chennai Waterways.
  • A total of 33 projects for conservation of 49 lakes have been sanctioned in 13 States at a total estimated cost of Rs.632.62 crore. Conservation works for 11 lakes have been completed so far whereas in some cases the project implementation is in last stages of completion. Funding pattern under NLCP (w.e.f. February, 2002) is on a 70:30 cost sharing between the Central and the State Governments.
  • The 12th World Lake Conference (Taal 2007), a biennial event under the aegis of international Lake Environment Committee (ILEC) Foundation, was organized by the Ministry, at Jaipur, Rajasthan from 28th October to 2nd November, 2007. The State Govt of Rajasthan was the co-host for this mega event. The central theme of the Conference was 'Conserving lakes & Wetlands for Future'. Other main objectives included identifying the issues concerning lakes and wetlands along with restoration approaches under different conditions adopted by different countries.
  • The Conference was inaugurated by Hon'ble President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil on 29th October, 2007 in the presence of other dignitaries including Hon'ble Governor and Chief Minister of Rajasthan. As many as 600 no. of delegates comprising of nearly 150 overseas delegates from different parts of the world, attended the Conference with their oral or poster presentations on their studies pertaining to the subject matter. The Jaipur Declaration was adopted at the Valedictory session, to work upon as a follow up action of the Conference.

      National Wetlands Conservation Programme

      The scheme on conservation and management of Wetlands was initiated in 1987 to lay down policy guidelines for implementing programs of conservation and management of wetlands in the country, to undertake priority wetlands for intensive conservation measures and to monitor Implementation of the Programme of conservation, management and research, and to prepare an inventory of Indian wetlands.
      • Number of wetlands under Wetland Conservation Programme increased from 27 in 2004 to 71 in 2005 and to 103 in January 2008.
        • A brochure on 'National Wetland Conservation, an approach and Guidelines' was released on the eve of 2nd February, 2007 which has now been published and circulated to all the user agencies.
        • Management Action Plans (MAPs) of 36 wetlands have been approved and financial assistance sanctioned. Cases of 10 more M.A.Ps, for newly identified wetlands are being taken up.
        • Twenty five sites have already been designated as Ramsar sites in India till date;
        • India has been nominated on Board of Directors of wetland International and on request from India. Meeting of Board of Directors of Wetland International was held in New Delhi at Manesar during 19-20 October, 2005, About 23 countries participated. India chaired one of the sessions and efforts made by India in Wetland conservation were highly applauded by all the participating countries.


          Hazardous Substances Management

          The major functions of the Hazardous Substances Management Division (HSMD) include regulatory activities for framing necessary Rules relating to environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes/chemicals, plastics and municipal sold wastes under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and promotional activities by providing necessary financial support to the concerned agencies for their implementation.

          The Division is also responsible for planning, overseeing and implementation of the policies and programmes on the management of chemical emergencies and hazardous substances including hazardous wastes.

          The mandate of this Division is to promote safety in the management and use of hazardous substances including hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes with an objective to prevent and mitigate damage to health and environment due to hazardous chemicals and wastes.

          The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency for the management and control of hazardous substances which include hazardous chemicals, waste and micro-organisms.  

          The following rules have been notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:

          (i) Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals, 1989;

          (ii) Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989;

          (iii) Manufacture, Use, Import,Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cell, 1989 and

          (iv) Biomedical Waste Rules, 1998.

          A central control room has been set up in the Ministry to deal with emergencies arising from hazardous chemicals and a Crisis Alert System has been established.

          Guidelines for preparation of crisis management plans have been issued to the state governments and financial support is being provided to them to strengthen infrastructure for the purpose. Emergency Response Centres have been set up at Bhopal, Baroda, Manali and Khapali.

          The Red Book entitled ‘Central Crisis Group Alert System’, which includes names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Central and state authorities and experts to be contacted in case of emergency, has been updated and circulated to all concerned.

          A sub-scheme entitled ‘Industrial Pocket-wise Hazard Analysis’ has been in operation since the Eighth Five Year Plan.  Hazard analysis studies of 37 industrial pockets have since been completed. The remaining 8 Hazard analysis studies are being offered to the consultants.

          A Public Liability Insurance Act has been enacted to provide immediate relief to the victims of accidents by hazardous chemical industries.

          India is a signatory to the UNEP-sponsored Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes which was adopted at Basel, Switzerland, by 126 governments of the world in 1989. The Convention aims at checking the reported illegal traffic in hazardous wastes from one country to another. 

          A scheme on National Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (NRPTC) has been started for setting up the basic infrastructure for implementing the London guidelines for the exchange of information on chemicals in international trade, including the procedure for prior informed consent.

          Nine Regional Registers (RRPTC) have been set up in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra.

          A National Poison Information Centre has been set up at the Department of Pharmacology in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. An antidote data-bank is being developed at the Centre. 

          The Ministry has constituted a National Waste Management Council to suggest ways and means for effective utilisation of wastes generated in the country.

          Three sub-groups have been set up by the Council to deal with the major categories of wastes, viz., industrial, urban and rural.

          The sub-groups have been entrusted with the task of identifying wastes, suggesting technological action points, including legislation, taxes and incentives.


          Environment Legislation

          Major legislations directly dealing with the protection of environment are:
          • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
          • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. 
          • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
          • The Water (Cess) Act,1977. the National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1977.
          • the Air(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, 
          • the Environment (Protection)Act, 1986, 
          • the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and the National
          • Environment Tribunal Act, 1995.

          The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 provides for rational and modern wildlife management while the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 has been enacted to check indiscriminate deforestation/diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes.

          The Water and Air Acts are the major instruments for the control of water and air pollution and these have provided for the establishment of the Central and State Pollution Control Boards.

          The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 is a landmark legislation which provides for a single focus in the country for the protection of environment and aims at plugging the loopholes in the existing legislation.

          The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, provides for mandatory insurance for the purpose of providing immediate relief to the persons affected by accidents occurring while handling any hazardous substances.

          The National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995, seeks to constitute a Tribunal with Benches to award compensation for damage to persons, property and the environment arising out of any activity involving hazardous substances.

          The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1977 provides for the establishment of a National Environment Appellate Authority to hear appeals against environmental clearance given by the Ministry.

          All these Acts are amended from time to time to rationalise and expand their scope, coverage and penal provisions.


          Environmental Impact Assessment

          The environment impact process was introduced with the purpose of identifying /evaluating the potential beneficial and adverse impacts of development  projects on the environment, taking in to account environmental, social, cultural and aesthetic considerations. 

          All of these considerations are critical to determine the viability of a project and to decide if a project should be granted environmental clearance.

          An EIA concentrate on problems, conflicts and natural resource constraints  which might affect the viability of a project. 

          It also predicts how the project could harm to people, their homeland, their livelihoods, and the other nearby developmental activities. 

          After predicting potential impacts, the EIA identifies measures to minimize the impacts and suggests ways to improve the project viability.

          Impact assessment was introduced in India in 1978 and now covers projects such as;
          (i) river valley;
          (ii) thermal power;
          (iii) mining;
          (iv) industries;
          (v) atomic power;
          (vi) rail, road, highways, bridges;
          (vii) ports and harbours;
          (viii) airports;
          (ix) new towns and
          (x) communication projects;

          (b) those which require the approval of the Public Investment Board/Planning Commission/Central Electricity

          (c) those referred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests by other ministries;

          (d) those which are sensitive and located in environmentally degraded areas;

          (e) public sector undertakings of the Centre where the project cost is more than Rs 50 crore.


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