Mitigate impact of environmental pollution on human rights: NHRC

Rights body issues advisory to Centre, states/union territories

SHILLONG, May 18: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday said it has issued an advisory to the Centre, states/union territories and High Courts to prevent and mitigate the impact of environmental pollution and degradation on human rights.
The rights body’s secretary general, Devendra Kumar Singh asked for implementation of its recommendations in the advisory and sought an action taken report within three months, said a statement issued here.
The NHRC finalised the advisory in consultation with the domain experts by examining the effects of air and water pollution and ecological degradation vis-a-vis basic human rights.
The Commission observed that in spite of having one of the world’s best statutory and policy framework for environment protection, India is experiencing a serious problem of air and water pollution and ecological degradation.
The NHRC said the Central 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, creation of separate investigation and prosecution wings in PCBs and regular training of the staff. Each local body should establish an environmental cell to plan, supervise and monitor various activities to prevent, minimise and mitigate environmental pollution/degradation, the statement added.
The High Courts have been advised to establish special environmental courts and ensure speedy trial of cases involving violation of environmental laws.
The NHRC also said that state judicial academies, state legal services authorities and district legal services authorities in collaboration with PCBs should hold workshops, seminars and training programmes on environmental laws and the harmful impacts of pollution and environmental degradation for all stakeholders.

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