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Constitutional Provisions in India to protect the environment

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Constitutional Provisions in India
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An increase in deforestation, global warming, water, air, and other types of pollution have emerged as the biggest threat to living beings and the environment. Environmental degradation due to a wide range of natural and manmade activities has adverse effects on the wellbeing of plants, animals, and human beings. So, protecting the various ecosystems has to be of supreme importance to maintain the harmonious existence of all life forms on earth.

Laws are necessary to monitor human conduct in all matters. Since the Indian Constitution did not have the term ‘Environment’ mentioned in it, it became mandatory to insert provisions to safeguard the environment. The Indian Constitution, which is the supreme law book of the country, has several laws against environmental exploitation.

Laws and Policy in ancient India

In ancient India, cleaning up and protection of the environment was a central part of the Vedic Culture. The interest in the environment’s conservation was apparent in art, religion, myth folklore, and culture. In Hindu theology, preservation of trees, wildlife, and forests held an
important place.

The Preamble and environment protection

Massive levels of pollution are degrading the environment’s quality each day. Socialism is the main aim of the Preamble. It bestows upon the state the responsibility to take stern measures to minimize land, water, and air pollution. The state is also obliged to provide a pollution-free environment and decent living standards for all living things.

Legislative powers to preserve the environment

There are multiple developmental projects that the state takes up and many of them have negative impacts on the environment. In such situations, one has to choose between environmental protection and development. The Environment Impact Assessment abbreviated as EIA, deal with such matters. The Planning Commission has also recognized it.

International Environmental Agreements

India has signed multiple international agreements regarding environmental preservation on various occasions. The Stockholm Declaration of 1972 established the point that the world has one environment, and all big nations should join hands for the sake of its maintenance. As India is a signatory, it is obliged to follow the provisions.

The Constitution of India clearly states in Article 51C that India shall abide by and respect global laws after signing treaties. The Constitution’s Article 253 is another significant provision pertaining to the environment. It gives Parliament the power to introduce laws that will be followed by the whole nation or specific states for implementing signed conventions and agreements with other countries.

Using this power the Parliament has successfully enacted the Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act in 1981 and the Environment Protection Act in 1986.

The constitutional measures:

To improve and protect the environment, constitutional amendments are mandatory. After huge protests by environmentalists, the decision was taken for the modification of the Constitution. The 42 nd Amendment is the outcome of that decision. In the chapter titled ‘Directive Principles of the State Policy and Fundamental Duties’, The Indian Constitutions lists direct provisions for the protection of the environment:

>The Indian Constitution’s 42 nd Amendment took place in the year 1976. Inclusion of 2.2 Article 48A took place which declares that the state will take actions to safeguard and better the environment and also preserve the wildlife and forest cover of the country.

>Every citizen of India got a similar responsibility in the form of a ‘Fundamental Duty’ as per 2.3 Article 51(A) (g). It entails that it is the duty of every individual to take care of the natural environment, that is, rivers, wildlife, lakes, and forests, and to treat all living creatures with compassion

The amendments also mentioned some other changes in the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule. ‘Wildlife’ and ‘Forest’ were transferred to the Concurrent List from the State list.

Role performed by the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court has dealt with a long list of cases regarding environmental pollution and protection. It has passed various significant judgments over the years. The Supreme Court has also highlighted diverse aspects of our environment such as natural resources by giving them
the required importance. Water and air have received the status of nature’s greatest gifts to mankind as we cannot survive without them.

Article 21’s Polluter Pays Rule:

While incorporating the Fundamental Rights’ basic features described in Article 21, the Supreme Court has ascertained several principles to defend the atmosphere. The Principle of Polluter Pays proclaims that if someone causes ecological damage, it becomes that person or organization’s duty to repair the damage done. So, when industries who fail to obey the directions given by the court, the court shuts them down.

The Doctrine of Public Trust:

In this doctrine, it is asserted that water and air are life’s basic amenities. Therefore, claiming private ownership to these resources can never be justified.

Environmental Laws followed in India:

  1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974– This Act bans the discharge of harmful pollutants into rivers and other water bodies and lays down strict penalties for breakers of the law. This resulted in the formation of the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) to control pollution of water. Section 16 explains the functions
    of the board.
  2. The 1981 Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution Act)– Article 253’s Air Act mainly deals with the control and abatement of air pollution.

Read more : International Law And Pollution: A Brief Discussion.

Other useful laws:

 The Environment Protection Act of 1986
 Handling and Management of Hazardous Waste objective of 1989
 The Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991
 The Municipal Solid Wastes (Handling and Management) Rules of 2000
 Control and Regulation of Noise Pollution (2002)
 The 1984 Indian Forest Act and Amendment
 The Factories Act of1948

Conclusion:

It is crucial to have a healthy environment, not just for the sake of human beings but for the sake of the environment which has been there long before humans inhabited the planet. So, as the smartest of all animals on earth, it is the duty of human beings to be sensible about the environment. Laws are not enough to lessen pollution and protect the environment. All of us need to make environment-friendly lifestyle alterations and wok united towards stopping ecological degradation.

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Climate Movement and Brighters Society

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Climate movement or climate strike is comparatively newer in our subcontinent. Although we are the worst sufferers of the conscience, our worries are seemingly raised later than others. However, if we take a look at the very prominent organizations that are working for the climate in this subcontinent, the Brighters Society of Bangladesh will be on the top ten list! They are working on climate justice, tree plantation, and saving natural resources for the past couple of years and have been able to draw attention across the country about why we should act as if ‘our house is on fire’ when it is the case of a climate emergency! 

What is Brighters Society? 

Brighters Society is a non-profitable and non-political organization that is concerned about social & environmental problems and youth leadership. This organization was founded in 2016, by Saidur Rahman, with a bunch of dreamers, and the story is quite interesting! 

Challenging the system of the school teaching system, 4-5 boys started studying their own by making a group. This gradually extended to 10-12 boys and this was the seed of the first-ever team of this organization. These boys created a club named “Diganta Honest Boys’ Club” to perform some social activism. Afterward, it was named “Brighters Society of Bangladesh” with more dreams and dimensions. 

In its founding year, it spread its works in the district of Noakhali. The next year, the community extended to three more teams in Chittagong, Dhaka, and Jessore. Afterward, in its third year, it winged over more than 10 district teams and 40 green teams. Now it possesses almost more than 15 district teams and 45 green teams. 

From 2019. It started to work on the climate emergency. Gradually it was expanded over 64 districts of Bangladesh and still now it is the most active climate-based organization. Regular climate strikes, tree plantation programs, submitting MoUs to the authority to ban harmful plants, organizing seminars for climate education, arranging tree plantation programs are some of the key roles of them in the field of climate emergency. In earlier 2020, they launched a project to plant 100k seedlings to fight the climate emergency situation with natural resources. 

Visions & Missions of Brighters Society

Brighters Society of Bangladesh

Brighters Society of Bangladesh works on its five functions to perform all its activities of socialism and those are 

  • Intellectual Excellency
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Service 
  • AwarenessProgram 
  • Capacity Building and Skill Development 

Goal: To make a healthy, poverty free and conscious educated society. 

From its beginning, it was designed to make a well-planned society where the system would not crash like the present situation like now. For this, it started to work from the roots. Let’s check out the root level projects initiated by Brighters Society. 

  1. Intellectual Excellency

-Project “We For Ten”

-School “Lighthouse”

  1. Awareness 

-Green Movement 

-Project “Todays For Tomorrow” 

-Project “Protest For Her” 

-Project “Revive The Roads” 

-Project “Enlighten The Addicts”

-Project “Homage To Flag” 

  1. Leadership Development
    -Workshop and volunteer Orientation 
  2. Capacity Building and Skill Development 

-Project “Support to Self-reliance” 

  1. Community Service 

– Project “Warm Cloth Distribution” 

-Project “Survival In Water” 

Why Brighters Joined the Climate Movement? 

Brighters Society of Bangladesh 1

The research team and the intellectual excellency unit was working for a better plan to create a better environment for nature and people. But there was always a hindrance. But youths are the solution to every problem always! In 2018, Brighters started to work on tree plantation from its branches, such as Jashore, Noakhali, Tangail. Later on, 2019 is the year when they started to work as a national organization.  In May 2019, Brighters started its journey to collaborate officially with “Fridays For Future International”, one of the leading organizations in the field of climate justice. In that month, Brighters Society arranged a national strike collaborating with 15 cities and organizations representing Bangladesh in the 2nd global strike. 

Next, in September, the UN decided to observe “The Climate Action Week” from 20th September to 27th September.  Brighters Society played a vital role that time to organize strikers from periphery of Bangladesh and arranged two big strikes on 20th September and 27th September. It observed the week on spreading climate consciousness by organizing various programs, events and so on. They united 40 districts on the period to strike for the climate emergency. 

Next milestone was touched on November 2019, when the fourth global strike happened over the world. Bangladesh participated in the strike with all its 64 districts led by Brighters Society. Thus, Bangladesh joined the procession of climate justice demand groups as a top tire! 

Climate Justice Right Now in Bangladesh 

As the demand started to grow day by day, Brighters decided to start a climate movement in Bangladesh called “Green Movement”. Green movement includes- 

  • Green Team 
  • Green Campus Ambassador 
  • Green Alliance 
  • Project “Todays For Tomorrow” 

“Todays For Tomorrow” includes 

  • Climatehood [Climate Education] 
  • Best Air Pollution 
  • Replacing Plastic 
  • Tree Plantation 

Brighters Society started an initiative to plant 100k seedlings to be planted by 2020. The first phase of this started in February 2020, with a purpose to plant more than 10k seedlings. It was made very specific by- 

  • Distributing 10k seedlings management into 15 districts
  • Making 5 cities ‘Green City’ 
  • Keeping database of each and every seedlings on google map
  • Collaborating with other social organizations. 

But after the corona pandemic started, the situation and lockdown forced to stop all the fieldwork. Hope the Mission will come back stronger after the earth gets cured. 

Pandemic & Climate Activities of Brighters 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and stopped all the physical workplaces. But voluntary works are such a kind of activity that can not be slowed in any situation. Apart from the organizational works, Brighters kept participating in digital strikes and international seminars to keep pace with the environmental crisis during the period. Over the months, all the branches took part in the digital strike and showed their potential to work further. Regular conferences with the spokespersons make it a more reliable and sustainable working place for climate justice in Bangladesh. 

Further, Brighters Society dreams to make Bangladesh a climate-friendly country with zero carbon emission and crores of green trees around it.  Also, it wants to form an alliance with the climate concerned citizens and organizations of the world that will make the earth a better place to live in. 

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International Day of Clean Air 2020

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International Day of Clean Air 2020
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During the 74th session of the United Nations, on December 19, 2019, the assembly adopted the resolution to hold the International Day of Clean Air 2020 for blue skies. The assembly invited the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to facilitate this observance, in collaboration with various
other organizations
. Together, organizations resolved to emphasize on the importance of raising public awareness across all levels and urgently promote as well as facilitate necessary actions to improve the quality of air.

On September 7, 2020, the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies shall be observed. This celebration shall set an example for a very important and exhilarating innovative international day for cleaner air and blue skies. Organizations including UN organizations, UN member states, international and regional organizations, and civil society can observe this day.


The UN Member States have recognized that it is vital to reduce the number of illnesses and deaths from hazardous chemicals, air, soil, and water pollution, and contamination, substantially, by 2030. International Day of Clean Air 2020 is the beginning.


The International Clean Air Day 2020 Mission Addresses 2 Problems

International Day of Clean Air 2020 is a mission that addresses two primary problems:
i) Impact On Health: When tiny and invisible particles of pollutants penetrate the body, affecting the bloodstream and the lungs, it can cause serious illnesses. These pollutants are primarily responsible for approximately one-third of the total number of deaths from
chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, and lung cancer.

Besides, it is responsible for a quarter of the total number of deaths from a heart attack. When different types of pollutants interact in sunlight, it produces ground-level ozone, which causes chronic respiratory illnesses and asthma. At the International Day of Clean Air 2020, these issues would be the key areas.

ii) Impact on Climate: Some pollutants affect the health and warming of our planet. These care called short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). They are persistent in the earth’s atmosphere for no more than a few days or may live up to several decades. Reducing them from the earth’s atmosphere can have an immediate benefit for the climate and health for people living in those places where the levels decrease significantly. The International Day of Clean Air 2020 addresses this.

Reducing Air Pollution & Prevention To Improve Quality Of Air Globally

One of the biggest environmental risks to humanity is air pollution. It is also one of the key avoidable causes of disease and death globally, with an estimated 6.5 million premature deaths in 2016 all over the world, attributed to both outdoor and indoor pollution. In developing nations, air pollution affects women and children, and the elderly, disproportionately, particularly in low-income populations. Considering that they are exposed to higher levels of indoor and ambient pollution from cooking and heating using kerosene and wood fuel, risks are higher.

Air pollution is recognized as a global problem having a far-reaching impact due to its transport. Without aggressive intervention, the total number of premature deaths due to ambient air pollution could increase by over 50 percent by the beginning of 2050. To prevent it, the International Day of Clean Air 2020 shall be decisive.

The Crux

It is important to have clean air, free from pollutants and contaminants, for healthy day-to-day living. The International Day of Clean Air 2020 recognizes this single greatest risk factor to human health and acknowledges that improving the quality of air can increase climate change mitigation, which can further, improve the quality of air.

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India’s Independence Day 2020: Prime Minister Modi Addresses The Nation

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As the great nation of India celebrates its 74th Independence Day today, PM Modi led the Indians in celebrating 73 years of freedom by unfurling the national flag at the historic Red Fort, Delhi. He paid tribute to health workers, first responders, and other experts who have been leading this great country in the war against COVID-19 pandemic. 

On August 15th each year, the streets of most cities and towns in India would be adorned with India’s national flag’s tricolors as the entire nation commemorates one of the most important days in its history. In the weeks leading up to August 15th, government buildings and landmarks are lit up in the nation’s flag colors. Malls, retail shops, and homes would be decorated in similar colors and selling hand-held flags.  But things are now different.

Read this article : Republic Day 2020.

2020 celebrations are somewhat different 

Independence Day 2020 celebrations are different. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected different facets of human existence and society. Coronavirus has been raging the world for months, and social distancing, cessation of movement, lockdowns, and other measures have become the new normal. The event at the majestic Red Fort is somewhat muted with regard to the participation of the citizens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In view of the challenges associated with the spread of coronavirus, the general public hasn’t been invited to this event. However, 1,500 ‘coronavirus warriors’ including 500 police officers who have completely recovered from the infection, are expected to attend the event. This reveals the nation’s determination to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Home Ministry called upon all states to avoid huge gatherings and encouraged the citizens to practice social distances. Instead, Indians are encouraged to use technology to stream the live event at Red Fort. 

India’s Independence Day 2020

Independence Day is usually celebrated each year on August 15th as a national holiday in the nation, commemorating the country’s independence from the UK on August 15th, 1947. This is the day the provisions of the Independence Act 1947, which facilitated the transfer of legislative sovereignty to India’s Constituent Assembly (ICA), came into effect. 

Today, PM Narendra Modi hoisted the Tricolor on the nation’s 74th Independence Day at the historic Red Fort. In his speech, he hinted that the Indian government is prioritizing the improvement of infrastructure for faster development. He announced that more than Rs 110 Lakh crore would be invested in the National Infrastructure Policy, and 7,000 projects have already been identified. 

PM Modi also showed his support for Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) as he continues to push for a raise in the country’s share in the global economy. This new wave has captured the Indian’s attention and become a mantra for nearly everyone. PM Modi urged the citizens to prepare themselves to embrace a self-reliant nation. 

He emphasized the importance of maintaining good relations with the neighboring nations with a partnership in development, security, and trust. PM Modi said, “Neighbor is not just the nearby nation with which we share a border, but also those with whom our hearts are connected and harmoniously related. I am happy that India has strengthened its relations with all nations in its extended neighborhood.”

On the coronavirus vaccine, the prime minister hinted that three coronavirus vaccines are in different stages of trial. He added that the mass-production of the vaccine would start once the scientists analyze it and give the nod. 

Celebrating India’s 74th I-Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic 

Sure, there are no social gatherings, and a limited number of people observed even the grand flag hoisting ceremony. You probably followed the entire event on your TV. But is there anything you can do to feel more patriotic? Here are a few ideas. 

  • Tricolor binge: Don’t just brood in a corner. Instead, prepare tricolored delicacies and share them with your loved ones. Make sure the food has evident orange, green, and white. You can binge eat with your family or friends as you watch various events taking place today. 
  • Antakshari on patriotic songs: Use your video apps for something fun and more patriotic. Gather with your loved ones and friends virtually and challenge one another in a game of Antakshari on patriotic songs. 
  • Theme party on Facebook and other social networks: COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world that millennials can get a little more creative with social media. You and your friends can choose a theme, dress up in the right attire, and paint social media tricolor with family groupies or selfies. 

Nature Talkies all our readers a Happy 74th Independence Day. 

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