NHRC flags pollution effect on human rights

In advisory, it urges Centre and States to take action

Updated - May 18, 2022 10:30 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2022 02:54 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The NHRC advisory focuses on  punishment of polluters, prevention and mitigation of vehicular pollution among other things.

The NHRC advisory focuses on punishment of polluters, prevention and mitigation of vehicular pollution among other things.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday said it had issued an advisory to the Centre and State Governments on preventing, minimising and mitigating the impacts of environmental pollution and degradation on human rights.

The NHRC said despite India “having one of the world’s best statutory and policy framework for environment protection”, the country was facing a serious problem of pollution and ecological degradation preventing the enjoyment of basic human rights. NHRC secretary-general Devendra Kumar Singh had written to the secretaries of the Union Ministries/Departments concerned, State Chief Secretaries and registrars of High Courts to implement the recommendations and send action-taken reports within three months.

The advisory focuses on the punishment of polluters; prevention and mitigation of vehicular pollution; and transparent processing of approvals and clearances under environmental laws.

“The Union and State governments should make efforts to ensure effective and expeditious punishment of polluters and violators of environmental laws. These efforts should include strengthening of Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) and other regulatory authorities,” the NHRC said.

The commission said PCBs should create separate investigation and prosecution wings, as well as carry out regular training sessions for staff. The NHRC also recommended that “High Courts should establish Special Environmental Courts and ensure speedy trial of the cases involving violation of environmental laws”.

The advisory was drafted in consultation with domain experts, the NHRC said. During a meeting of the NHRC core advisory group on environment, climate change and human rights on March 23, NHRC chairperson Justice (retired) Arun Kumar Mishra had “expressed serious concerns over the degrading environment and said that despite rules and laws, the ground situation was not improving”, the NHRC statement read.

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