Victims of pollution to be compensated

Kathmandu, November 23

The Environment Protection (First Amendment) Act has stipulated a provision of compensation to any person or organisation harmed by pollution.

As per the amendment, if any person or organisation suffers any loss or damage due to pollution, sound, harmful waste or accidental pollution by anyone contrary to this act, such a victim may submit an application to the prescribed authority requesting for an order to compensate him/her for the damage.

While examining the application, if it is confirmed that loss or damage has been caused, the prescribed authority shall order such a responsible person or organisation or proponent of a project to pay reasonable compensation to the victim depending on the gravity of loss or damage. Similarly, the amendment prohibits carrying out of any project without getting approval. If any person or organisation has done such act, the prescribed authorities may punish him/her with a fine up to Rs 100,000 depending on the gravity of offence.

The amendment has also made a special provision related to environmental protection. The government may, by consulting provincial government and the concerned local level, maintain any place containing natural heritage of aesthetic value, rare wildlife, plants or places with biodiversity, and places of historical and cultural significance as an Environment Protection Area.

Similarly, the government may issue an order to maintain any particular area as open or green space by determining its area. “In a case where it appears that extreme environment pollution, landslip, excessive exploitation of natural resources or natural disaster in any particular area or place is causing or is likely to cause negative effects on public health or environment, the government may issue an appropriate order for environmental balance and management or environmental rehabilitation by designating such an area or place as a sensitive area in terms of environment,” the amended act states.

The government of may also restrict the movement of the general public in a place where any harmful or hazardous material or waste has been stored or disposed of by declaring it a polluted area.