This article is written by Hemant Kumar, a student at Law Center 1, Delhi University. 


By reading this article you will get familiar with the different “international conferences” about the environmental laws and agreements and what were the conclusions of those conferences, also the reader will get information about the current environmental condition of India. 


The defence of the earth has no other purpose than the defence of life. “Pope Francis”

Human Rights and environment protection both of them are important for the survival of human beings so we cannot think of one of the things in isolation

Laws framed by different states (nations) to govern themselves to protect the environment of the earth are basically international environmental laws. 

  • Customary laws
  • International Conventions. 

To protect the environment along with sustainable development is the main aim of international environmental laws. All nations want to show their presence in the world by the way of development and success they can achieve by development projects. These development projects cause major harms to the environment so laws have been made to protect the environment and if someone breaks the laws he will have to pay the compensation. These development projects destroy the land for farming, basic human rights, food health, the standard of living that are affected by them. 

Human rights and environmental laws are closely related to each other as a good and healthy environment is for the benefit of all human beings. 

Three benefits that the Human Rights perspective provides for environmental protection:

  1. It shows how environment harm can and does interfere with the values that human rights are designed to protect. 
  2. Human rights law clarifies and guides governments in their obligations in respect of environmental protection and provides both procedural and substantive obligations the government should follow in pursuing environment policy. 
  3. Human Right law set out new forums through which claims can be brought for environmental harm. 

Environmental violation is a “threat to the human right to life”, a good environment is proof of good health. The right to life would have no meaning without it all other rights would be devoid of meaning. Right to life affected by the environmental disaster which produces threatening diseases. 

Environment Protection depends on these rights: 

  • Right to Information
  • Right to Public Participation
  • Right to Access of Justice

Environmental Protection is not expressly mentioned in the UN Charter but comes under the social and economic provision. 

Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR)

It proclaims fundamental Rights should equally apply to all humans. It also proclaims that Human Rights are dependent on a healthy environment. 

Vienna Declaration, 1993 

It states that the Right to development fulfilled so as to equitably meet the development of the environment is the need of the present and future. 

Conference of Human Environment held Stockholm in 1972

Principal Declaration

Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality, and adequate conditions of life in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well being and he bears a responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. 

Rio de Janerio, UN Conference, 1992 on Environment and Development 

It declares procedural Human Rights which are the right to information, right to public participation, the right to access justice, access to the judicial and administrative proceeding, redress, and remedy. 

World Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002 

It stated the role of health in sustainable development. Health is both a resource for, as well as an outcome of, sustainable development. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when there is a high prevalence of debilitating illness and poverty, and the health of a population cannot be maintained without a responsive health system and a healthy environment. Environmental degradation, mismanagement of natural resources, and unhealthy consumption patterns and lifestyles impact health. Ill-health, in turn, hampers poverty alleviation and economic development. Development policies and practices need to take into account current and future impacts on health and the environment. 

Environmental Policies in India 

India has a vast geographical land with almost every kind of climate and the environment is found in our country. Our government and people of India all want to protect this for the present and future generations. Ecology plays an important role in human life and an unhealthy environment cause’s harm to the human body and leads to many diseases. 

India is a developing country and less than a 100-year-old democracy. So, India has some developed environmental laws and some are yet to come. Some of the cities in India have the worst atmosphere in the world as these cities are overcrowded and have a huge set up of Industries. During the winter season living in big metro cities feels like we are living in gas chambers.

Recently two incidents happened which questions environmental protection in India. 

  • Visakhapatnam Gas Leak: Styrene gas was leaked from the LG polymers which led to the death of 12 people and sickened hundreds of them. It was operating for two decades without environmental clearance. The National Green Tribunal formed a committee that imposed a fine of 50 crore rupees on the company. 
  • Assam Oil Well Fire: One of the oil wells of Oil India Ltd. where the gas was seeping out for many days caught fire and did heavy damage to the environment nearby. Locals were told to evacuate their own place of living. 

While in Visakhapatnam no environmental clearance was taken by the company for the last two decades and was operating smoothly without any hurdles and in Assam there was no public hearing was conducted by the Oil India Ltd. to take the suggestions of the local people this shows how serious the government of our country is regarding the environment and to its law. 

One of the policies of the environmental law is that; Polluter should pay- One who makes a mess should clean it. Many formulas have also been generated to measure the damages and fine the people like the deep pocket formula and sustainable development formula. People’s participation is a must to check environmental pollution. Some of the examples include the Chipko movement where people saved a lot of trees and at last the place of the project was changed. Swacch Bharat Abhiyan people supported and we see cleanliness in every district even competition started between different cities to secure the first rank in the cleanest city in India. Save the tiger is one of the successful missions which led to the increase in No. of tiger and most tigers in India in the world. 


The environment is for the benefit of the people and we should maintain it as it is so that the next generations can enjoy it as well. Plantation drives should be initiated by the people and government for the joint efforts to make the earth green again. The new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 Draft is released which has a No. of flaws like the Post Facto environmental clearance, reduction in public hearing from 30 to 20 days, etc. One can give suggestions to the government regarding the EIA 2020 till the 11th of August on your valuable suggestion can save the environment. 

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