The legal perspective on environmental inequities in India is complex, involving legislative frameworks, judicial interventions, and community engagement. Vulnerable communities, often located near industrial zones or traffic-heavy areas, face severe health consequences due to air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, and industrial pollution. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 empowers regulatory bodies to control and abate air pollution, while the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 aims to prevent and control water pollution. Soil pollution affects agricultural communities, affecting crop yields and food security. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 provides for noise pollution control measures, while the Factories Act and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification address industrial pollution.
Mitigating environmental inequities involves community participation, Public Interest Litigation (PIL), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Clearance, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, enforcement gaps persist due to resource constraints, bureaucratic hurdles, and corruption. Vulnerable communities often lack awareness and resources to access legal remedies, limiting their ability to seek justice. Legal perspectives on environmental inequities in India involve a multifaceted approach that includes robust laws, effective enforcement mechanisms, and proactive community involvement. Ongoing efforts to strengthen legal frameworks and address implementation challenges are crucial for achieving environmental justice in India.
This research examines the legal principles surrounding indigenous land rights and the exploitation of natural resources, revealing instances where these communities are the most affected by environmental degradation. It also examines the urban-rural divide, analyzing how urban areas with industrial activities often experience higher pollution levels, leading to disparate health impacts. It also investigates environmental racism, highlighting the need for anti-discriminatory legal measures. The research emphasizes that addressing environmental inequities is not just an ethical imperative, but a legal necessity rooted in fairness, justice, and the preservation of fundamental rights. It proposes measures to enhance environmental justice.