Author: Aishwarya Pawar
Designation: Law Student, Karnataka state law university's law school, Hubballi.
Email ID: email@example.com
Since last few days, we have been witnessing heavy rains and flood like situation in States of Karnataka and Maharashtra. We are aware of the fact that heavy rain is a sign of climate change and there are many human factors associated with flooding, such as engineering of waterways and land development. Time and again Mother Nature is giving indications for us to realize the importance of Environment. Still then, why are we ignorant towards our Nature? Remember what Paul Coelho said 'Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.' We all have been cursed by Mother Nature.
Protecting the Environment is not a responsibility of one, but a 'Collective Responsibility’. For example- Transboundary pollution is the pollution that originates in one country but is able to cause damage in another country's environment. Thus, protecting the environment is not a responsibility of one person or one state or one country but it has to be everyone. Only then we may be able to restore lesser than half of what we have already destroyed.
We have heard about Fridays for Future. We are seeing people across the world are staging strikes and protests and calling for action against climate change. There have been many online campaigns to stand in solidarity with environmental activists everywhere. These people gather online to raise awareness on climate change related problems. Recently, we even saw online campaign held against Hubballi-Ankola railway line. Even after the protests, this project was approved by Karnataka Government. Experts have warned that this project would lead to desertification and a water crisis and cutting through Western Ghats will prompt deforestation and accelerate climate change.
We have laws and rules regarding the protection of environment in India such as Environment Protection Act, 1986, The Air Act, 1981, The Water Act, 1974, Coastal Regulation Zones Rules). These Environmental laws even after their enactment fail because of two main reasons 1. Lack of implementation and 2. That is we citizens don't imbibe the attitude of protecting the environment. While Article 48A of our Constitution imposes a duty on the state to preserve environment, Article 51A (g) imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen for the same purpose. Supreme Court has clarified that whenever a problem of ecology is brought before the Court, it is bound to keep in mind Article 48A and Article 51A (g) and cannot leave the matter entirely to the government. So we can't always blame the government until we fulfill our duty. And the duty to preserve and protect the environment is a duty that is owed not merely to all other human beings, non human beings and inanimate objects in present time but extends also to future generations. This duty is expressed in the theory of 'Intergenerational Equity'. This theory of Intergenerational Equity finds support from UDHR and Environmental Conventions. We have even adopted in our Country many principles such as Precautionary Principle- means that state government and concerned statutory authorities must anticipate, prevent and attack causes of environmental degradation, Polluter Pays Principle- that one who carries on a hazardous activity is liable to make good the loss caused to another person by such activity.
The success rate of these laws, rules, principle depends on willingness of society to contribute towards environmental protection. The adoption of social responsibility positively affects the protection of the environment. This is a high time we declare Environmental Emergency. Concept of environmental protection is non-negotiable. It has to be given utmost importance. It is like now or never situation, we have the choice to decide what best suitable for our Earth. Choose your options wisely and remember, 'Everything is connected to everything'.