WPA 1972 & EPA 1986 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Environment)

News-CRUX-10     20th May 2024        
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Context: The Supreme Court recently ordered the Rajasthan government to close 68 mines operating within a 1-kilometer radius of the Sariska reserve's critical tiger habitat, as both the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Environment Protection Act, 1986, prohibit such quarrying.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

  • About: It establishes a legislative framework for the preservation of various wild animal and plant species. It also encompasses the management of habitats, regulation of trade in species' parts, and control of products manufactured from them.
  • Classification under the Act: The act includes schedules categorizing plants and animals, subjecting them to different levels of government protection and oversight.
  • India's Inclusion in CITES: The Wildlife Act played a crucial role in India's admission to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Constitutional Provisions: Article 48A of the Indian Constitution mandates the State to safeguard and improve the environment, including the protection of wildlife and forests. 
  • This provision was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
  • Section 29: Only such activities can be carried out in national parks and sanctuaries which are for the betterment of wildlife. Mining is not one of such activities

Environment Protection Act, 1986

  • About: The EPA, 1986 establishes a framework for studying, planning, and implementing long-term environmental safety measures.
  • Origin: The EPA was influenced by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972, where India committed to improving the human environment.
  • Constitutional Provisions

o Article 253: The EPA was enacted under Article 253 of the Indian Constitution, which allows for legislation to give effect to international agreements.

o Article 48A: This article mandates that the State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife.

o Article 51A: This article provides that every citizen has a duty to protect the environment.

Sariska Tiger Reserve 

  • About: A prominent wildlife sanctuary and national park located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, India. The park is a part of the Aravalli Range.
  • Establishment: It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955.
  • Later, it was designated as a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1978.
  • The wildlife sanctuary was declared a national park in 1982.
  • Vegetation: Dry deciduous forests, thorn scrubs, and grasslands.
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