Legal Issues in the Environment

Legal Issues in the Environment:

Environment are surrounds or environs; surrounding conditions, forces or influences, by which living forms are influenced & modified in their development and growth. The natural environment encompasses all living & non living things naturally occurring on earth or some region thereof. It encompasses the interaction of all living species. Environment contains universal natural resources such as water, air and climate as well as energy, electric charge, radiation and magnetism, not originating from human activity.

On the contrary the natural environment is with build environment, which comprises the area and components that are influenced strongly by humans. A geographical area is considered as a natural environment.

Environmental Issues:

These are harmful aspects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmentalism, a social & environmental movement that started in the year of 1960s, addresses environmental issues via education, advocacy and activism. Current problems faced by the environment.

In today’s era of globalization, earth’s natural procedure has transformed local problems into international issues. A variety of environmental troubles have affected our whole world. Some of these are Air Pollution, Acid Rain, Hazardous Waste, Global Warming, Ozone Depletion, Smog, Overpopulation, Water Pollution, and Deforestation. Every difficulty has causes, numerous effects and most prominently, a solution.

Key environmental issues:


It is the destruction of woods and forests. It has resulted in the reduction of indigenous forests to fourth fifth of their pre agricultural area. Now forests cover 21% of the earth’s land surface.

Green House Effect:

It is the second major cause of environmental pollution. It is a natural occurring procedure that aids in heating the earth’s surface & atmosphere. Certain atmospheric gases, such like water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane modified the energy balance of the planet by absorbing long wave radiation emitted through earth’s land surface. Then this energy is used in a number of procedures, by including the heating of the ground surface, the melting of ice & snow and the evaporation of water.

Soil erosion:

It is one of the main types of land degradation that poses largest threat to sustainable agricultural production and also leads to contamination of resources of water. Although no comprehensive studies have been conducted, results from spot trials of soil erosion under several cover and farming practices have illustrated that soil loss ranges from 0 to 50t/ha/year

Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions:

It has long been afraid that human activity is causing massive extinctions. In spite of increased efforts at conservation, it has not been sufficient and biodiversity losses continue. The costs related with vanishing or deteriorating ecosystems will be high. Though, sustainable development and consumption would help avert ecological troubles.

What is Environmental Law?

This is the area of law that seeks to direct human impact on the environment.

The "environment" refers to all of the aspects of the natural environment, by including land, air, flora, water and fauna, and the human environment (Indigenous and non-Indigenous both cultural and built heritage).

Environmental law exists at a State, local national and international level.

It covers topics such as:

  • Environmental planning and assessment;
  • Pollution management;
  • Biodiversity conservation;
  • Natural resource management; and
  • Natural and cultural heritage.

Functions of environmental law:

The key functions of environmental law are to:

A. Establish regulatory structures for environmental management, by including specialist courts and tribunals (for example the Land & Environment Court of NSW) and regulatory agencies (for example. the Environment Protection Authority);

B. Enable regulators to direct environmental impacts via policies, plans ,standards, licenses and incentives;

C. Require those proposing environmentally important activities to get approval from regulators (for example development consent);

D. Enable members of the public to take partition in environmental planning and environmental assessment (for example. through making submissions);

E. Require activities of environmental importance to be assessed before permission can be granted (for example. through an environmental impact statement);

F. Provide administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for breaches of the law;

G. let the legality of the decisions of regulators to be challenged by members of the public (for example. in the Land & Environment Court); and

H. Let the merits of certain decisions of regulators to be challenged through members of the public.

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