Government drafts environment bill


The federal government has drafted the Environment and Natural Resources Protection Bill-2019 for all local levels across the country.

The bill, which will come into effect after it’s approved by the concerned village/ municipal assembly, aims to protect fundamental rights of each citizen to live in a clean and healthy environment, ensure proper use and sustainable management of natural resources and maintain balance between environment and development.

It makes the municipality/rural municipality responsible for protecting the environment of its territory, while requiring each citizen to contribute to build an environment-friendly society.

As per the bill, a local level, in coordination with the federal government and the concerned provincial government, may designate any specific area as an open or green space for environment protection before commencing any development work. In addition, the local level can declare any area as an environmentally sensitive zone if pollution, land erosion and excessive exploitation of natural resources is likely to have negative impact on public health and environment, according to the bill.

The bill empowers all local levels to prepare an adaptation plan to mitigate potential impacts of climate change by giving special priority to women, persons with disabilities, children, senior citizens and economically disadvantaged communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“Similarly, the local levels may conduct necessary programmes to reduce greenhouse gas emission in accordance with the existing law,” it reads.

The bill prohibits any person or organisation from polluting the environment by violating the existing standards in a manner to cause adverse impacts on public life and public health.

No motor vehicle, industrial enterprise, hotels or restaurants shall emit sound, heath, radioactive radiation, wave or waste or wastewater in excess of the limits set by the existing standards.

In such cases, the concerned local level shall initiate necessary action against polluters. As per the bill, the local levels are obliged to protect and maintain records of minerals, biodiversity, forests, forest products and wildlife and wetlands of their areas. Any person or organisation found guilty of committing an offence prohibited by this bill may be liable to a fine ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.

The local levels will prescribe any laboratory established by the federal or provincial government for testing the samples of waste or pollution. Likewise, the local levels may appoint an environment inspector for inspection and monitoring of public places, hospitals, industrial enterprises, hotels or restaurants, and recommend action against polluters to the concerned local level.

However, the responsibility of managing or disposing harmful, hazardous, chemical and industrial waste shall lie with the concerned person or organisation.

Similarly, the executive of the concerned local level may order persons or organisations to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste at the source for their safe disposal.

The bill also makes the concerned local level responsible for collection and dispose of waste. The bill prohibits any domestic or foreign organisation from carrying out waste management without obtaining permission from the local level.

“The local level may award the contract for waste management to private and community sector through open competition,” it says.

The bill also authorises the local level to levy fee on persons and organisations for waste management.