To protect the environment, the government will set up a regulatory authority on the lines of United States’ Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to “strictly” enforce 20 environmental laws.
India has laws to ensure cleaner air and water, protect bio-diversity and handle toxic waste — but enforcement has been weak because of toothless bodies like the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
This is set to change. “In three months we’ll introduce a Bill to set up an independent, professional and scientific environment protection agency with powers to punish polluters,” Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told HT.
Unlike the EPA that has penalised errant multinationals, the CPCB can’t directly prosecute polluters.
“We need people with the will to enforce laws,” said Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment.