Pollution plays a crucial role in the ozone layer, water bodies, humans, wildlife, and nature. Pollution in the air has increased drastically in our daily lives. This is caused by liquid and solid patches and certain gases that are emitted into the terrain. Water gets polluted when toxic chemicals and plastic waste are mixed into water bodies, which also affects sea life on a massive level. The process by which water and solid waste contaminate groundwater and soil is referred to as land pollution.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) holds human beings responsible for pollution. It says The WHO has blazoned Delhi as one of the most weakened metropolises due to the gassy adulterants caused by the vehicles. In India, the level of air pollution stands at a critical level, which is evident through the increased levels of PM10 (dust, soot, and sand). These particles emit heat and make urban cities warmer, thus causing climate change.
Sources of Pollution
Most of the air pollution is emitted from the use of fossil fuels, which are turned into energy. During this process, toxic gases and chemical particles are spread in the air. The most common type of air pollution is smog and soot, which are emitted during the burning process of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.
Some of the sources of air pollution are:
- Burning of fossil energies
- Vehicular Pollution
- Usage of air conditioners
- Garbage burning
- Marine waste dumping
- Oil splits
- Radioactive waste
- Discharge of untreated sewage
- Flooding during monsoons.
Effects of Pollution
The main cause of climate change will be pollution. The emission of carbon dioxide and methane gradually raises the earth's temperature, which results in an increase in smog, i.e., smoke and fog, and increased UV radiation.
Air pollution can cause irritation of the throat, eyes, and lungs and can stimulate allergies and asthma. The presence of chemicals like mercury and lead can damage children’s brain function. Long exposure to polluted air may also cause harm to the liver, skin problems, and reproductive organs.
Animal health is massively connected with pollution, which is man-made as well as natural-made. The food chain gets disturbed when some species go extinct because each species does its own particular work that contributes to our human existence. For example, honey bees
Related case law: Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar and Ors.(1991).
In this case, the right to a pollution-free environment is being declared to be part of the right to life under Article 21. The right to life is a fundamental right that every person has the authority to exercise without anyone’s permission, and they've got the right to enjoy pollution-free air and water for their own enjoyment.
LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN INDIA
(I) Air Pollution Control
India is facing environmental pollution due to its rapid development, but it lacks proper pollution control. The two main laws that regulate air pollution in India are the Air Act, 1981 (Prevention and Control of Pollution), environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
Related case law: Bhopal disaster case
Tonnes of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas mixed with other poisonous gases from a chemical plant that is owned and operated by Union Carbide (India) Limited.
At least 4,000 people were killed and several were injured in this incident. This incident caused victims' throats and eyes to burn because the gases remained low to the ground. Those who were exposed to such toxic gas gave birth to physically and mentally disabled babies even after 30 years.
(II) Water Pollution Control
Polluting the water is still one of the most severe issues facing the Indian government.
Some of the Indian laws that are passed by Indian legislation have control over water pollution.Some are Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974, The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Cess Act, 2003, The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
It vests authority in the Centre Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
CPCB performs functions for union territories along with creating policies related to the prevention of water pollution and coordinating with different SPSBs. SPCB controls sewage and industrial discharge by having authority to consent to discharge.
Related case law: M.C. Mehta v. Union Of India (Kanpur Tanneries Matter), Air (1987) 4 Scc 463
It was a complaint of the petitioner that neither the people nor the government are showing the least amount of interest in stopping polluting the river Ganga. Later, steps were taken that should be taken for the purpose of protecting the river Ganga.
(III) Land Pollution control
There is no specific legislation that involves the regulation of land pollution.
Unlike air pollution and water pollution, which have specific statutes to govern and control, land pollution is generally touched upon by the Environmental Protection Act, which deals with all aspects of environmental problems.
Related case law: M.C. Mehta vs. Kamal Nath and Ors. (1996)
The Himachal Pradesh government has sold out a piece of protected forest area on the riverside to hotels, motels, and for other commercial purposes.
Indian companies among CO2 polluters Globally
The 1st spot is conquered by India’s Vedanta limited. It’s a mining company which often has land disputes with local people near the mineral rich areas of Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Vedanta Limited is being criticised by other business companies for the pollution of the local environment and resources.
Following Vedanta in the list are JSW Steel Ltd., Adani Power Ltd., Reliance Power Ltd., Hindalco Industries Ltd., and Tata Power Co. Ltd. This makes some Indian companies within the top 25 polluters of the world. All these companies are privately owned by their Founder.
Related case law: Eloor and Edayar industrial zones
The Periyar river between eloor and edayar in kerala has been polluted by the untreated toxic effluents and waste by around 300 industries. The supreme court appointed committee was set up to examine the violation of environmental law and hazardous waste which was emitted by the industries.
Role of Companies in Environmental Protection
The role of the environment is essential for the existence of humans and animals. We humans are so dependent on our environment in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, it is necessary on the part of companies to protect and conserve the environment to prevent global issues.
Some of the roles of companies in environmental protection are:
Sharing the company's sustainable business practises with their clients and customers is important. The customers shall have a general idea of what the company has gone through to attain the product in the most efficient way possible. The machinery used for production or in the process of production should be enhanced to a level where it reduces pollution emissions.
Regular sustainability audits have to be initiated by the company's authority to ensure internal and external environmental protocols. Companies involved in the production of multiple products can go for eco-friendly, clean technology, and low-waste equipment used by such industries.The businesses have to adopt new technology and materials in their ingredients and packaging. By using this method, the companies can develop new products that are more sustainable.
Indian companies are making moves to control and prevent pollution.
For the past years, Central and state agencies and governments have been introducing several policies and programmes to fight the pollution level, which has increased across the water, air, and land. The central government has launched the "National Clean Air Programme" to reduce air pollution in India over the next 5 years.
The level of pollution and government programmes and policies to control it in India have created an opportunity for business companies and start-ups. A number of companies have expanded their need or demand for water and air purifiers to meet their portfolios, while other businesses are mainly focused on recycling or reducing the waste emitted by the company. The pollution control sector has a high potential and can contribute to society.
Companies working towards contributing cleaner air:
BreathEasy: This company helps its clients or customers with the best quality purification systems. They produce products like air purifiers, indoor Air quality monitors, car air purifiers and face masks.
So, this company has its own business by providing quality products that can help decrease the level of pollution in our environment. This allows their clients to benefit around homes, office spaces, schools and colleges, hospitals, museums, art galleries, etc. by converting polluted air into fresh air, which is good for the respiratory system of a human being as well as for the environment.
Pi Green Innovations: This company offers a solution to combat polluted air by reducing particulate matter (PM). Their products make a special contribution to our environment. Some of them are: Filterless technology for automobiles, which converts the polluted air emissions by the automobiles into fresh air (90%). Filterless technology for generators, which automatically captures over 90% of the PM emitted by the diesel generators. Filterless Ambient air purifier, which sucks the polluted air around its surrounding environment and separates all PM, dust particles, smog, and smoke and releases clean air around its outlet. Jaggery units are meant to be fitted into exhaust chimneys. It collects all the polluted air, separates the carbon and PM from it, and releases clean air into the outlet.
Companies working towards contributing to cleaner land:
Deshwal Waste Management: The company's main aim is to promote and increase the recycling of e-waste in India. This company also predicts that India will generate more e-waste over the next few years. The company operates across multiple recycling products like battery waste, general and dismantling waste, plastic waste, used oil waste, etc. The company has its own clients from different types of sectors, including heavy industries, Consumer goods, telecommunications, the IT sector, consulting, medical, and automobiles.
Ishitva robotic systems - The company uses AI, IoT(Internet of Things), ML and computers to sort waste to enhance the method of recycling and disposal. Sorting and segregation of waste are the weakest parts of the waste recycling chain in India.
Ishitva Systems has created efficient and effective ways to improve the quality and quantity of the waste recycling system. Its solutions are SUKA AI-powered air sorting, YUTA AI-powered robotic sorting, NETRA AI-vision system and Smart bins.
Companies working towards contributing cleaner water:
INDRA System: The company provides packaged recycling solutions to its clients.Indra introduced its products, which mainly focus on removing pollutants from residential, commercial, or industrial wastewater. They imply their wastewater treatment is through innovative technologies that are more effective, require less maintenance, and are affordable with a rupee per KL treatment cost.
The ultimate problem with most companies is that they don’t really take the initiative to reduce, reuse, and recycle the waste they emit. The best way to create products from nature that are sustainable instead of creating chemical products is through a much cheaper process. So the industries and businesses should mainly focus on the environment rather than seeking more customers; at least make the process eco-friendly so that these companies can help the surrounding area on a small or large scale.