Environment policies are drafted with the aim of preventing environmental pollution that can lead to depletion of natural resources. Governments are committed towards regulating the activities of investors by making them responsible for the waste they eject from their premises. Different countries have different environmental policies.
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The intention here is to compare and contrast the environmental policies in Britain, Canada, and India. The environmental policies for UK and Canada are borrowed from European countries while the ones for India are based on international conventions. This paper will shed light on the environmental policies of the three countries and their effectiveness in promoting sustainable development.
Environmental Policy in United Kingdom (UK)
Britain is among the most developed countries in the world, and has effective environmental policies. Probes into the history of UK’s environmental policy reveal that waste management was not mandatory (Vandenberghe, 2008, p.15).
In addition, the spheres of environment, including air, water and land were considered separately. However, in 1990, legislators reviewed the Environmental Protection Act, which called for an integrated environment management.
The environmental policy of UK emphasizes on the significance of sustainable development by encouraging manufacturers and businesses to employ Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).
In this concept, manufacturers trim the waste from raw materials to ensure the finished product can be recycled to produce the same product without compromising on quality. By embracing this approach, the manufacturers in UK can never run out of raw materials, thus protecting the environment (Wyn, Peter, and Duncan, 2000, p.23).
The government initiates environmental policies in UK as it consults other independent agencies on matters regarding environmental regulations. The better Regulation Task Force is the official government consultant and is believed to have hatched the idea of New Environmental Policy Instruments.
According to Vogler and Charlotte (2006, p.16), the instruments are intended to discourage people from generating waste. The instruments include Landfill tax, Climate change levy, 100% Capital Allowances Scheme, The UK Emission Trading Scheme, and The Renewables Obligation.
The Landfill tax is imposed on all waste deposited in landfills in the UK. This instrument aims at transforming peoples’ production behavior. The volume of waste dictates the amount charged and the levy reduces with reduction in waste.
This instrument is important because it holds people responsible for their waste as it help them to develop alternatives that are geared towards elimination of waste in production processes.
Vandenberghe (2008, p.243) points out that the manufacturers have to trace their products to ensure they get the used item and recycle it. With this kind of instrument, the landfills can never be filled because there will be less waste in the environment.
Climate change levy is imposed on organizations whenever they use energy. This instrument encourages organizations to use energy efficient forms of energy such as green energy. Inefficient energies such as petrol emit carbons that can be hazardous to the environment.
Stevis and Stephen (2000, p.28) argue that organizations are free to use any form of energy as long as they pledge their commitment towards refining that energy to make it more efficient. This ensures that the emissions of carbon are reduced.
An agreement known as Climate Change Agreement has to be signed by every organization. Adhering to the terms ensure reduced charges. This means that organizations that do not sign this agreement pay a higher amount than the ones covered by the agreement.
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The 100-capital allowances scheme is a program that was rolled out by the government of UK to promote investors who use energy saving equipment. In this program, the investors enjoy subsidized taxes on their investment capital. This is meant to encourage other investors to emulate the concept of energy saving technologies.
The reduction of taxes serve as the government’s token of appreciation for investors who employ energy saving technologies. This is a form of compensation energy saving equipments are expensive and that is why most organizations hesitate to acquire them.
According to Sibbald (2000, p.678), the UK Emission Scheme is program customized for organizations and it dictates the amount of harmful compounds they can emit. The limit of emission is assigned a monetary value in terms of bundles.
From another perspective, this initiative is intended to make manufacturers pay for the damage they will cause on the environment. Organizations that are most likely to emit more waste into the atmosphere have to purchase more bundles, which is very costly.
Additionally, the environmental policy of UK requires electricity vendors to avail electricity obtained from green technologies such as wind and solar energy. However, this regulation states that only a given quantity that is to be sourced from green technologies (Skjaerseth and Wettestad, 2002, p.101).
The manufacturers and service providers are being encouraged to label their products and services as a way of creating awareness to the consumers on the safety of the product or service to the environment.
The environmental policies have many advantages because they foster innovation by making the organizations and businesses to come up with advanced technologies. The innovation generates new opportunities for industry players.
The environment policies are bound to be effective because they are borrowed from the European Union. Organizations have recorded improved performance on implementing the policies because they can deal with less waste, which means that the processes of manufacturing take less time to be finished.
The rate of carbon emissions has gone down in the UK and this achievement is owed to the strict environmental policies.
Environmental Policy in Canada
Canada has a comprehensive environmental policy that includes multiple areas of the environment regulations. The country has its unique Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA). The act regulates the ejection of toxic waste into the environment.
The policy’s focus is on air and water, but this does not mean that the activities that are carried out on lands are exempted. The federal government of Canada maintains a list of domestic substances updated regularly. The list includes chemical compounds and biotechnical compounds (Selin and Noelle, 2008, p.76).
The manufacturers are under obligation to use substances that have been evaluated by government agencies. In addition, no entity is allowed to obtain a substance that is not contained in the government’s list without seeking approval from the government. In some situations substances that have been verified by the government are put under continuous evaluation to check for instances of accumulation.
Once a substance has been incorporated in the government list, the government agencies trace its management and if proper procedures are not being followed, the substance is placed in the list of substances that are to be eliminated or banned.
Organizations can only be allowed to use a given substance if they agree to enter an agreement that will hold them responsible for failing to adhere to their preventive and control plan.
Waste in Transit Act
In Canada, there are regulations regarding transportation of toxic substances whether they are renewable or non-renewable. Any party that wishes to transport toxic waste within or beyond the boarders of Canada must obtain a written consent from the government through the ministry of health or the ministry of environment.
To get permission, the concerned party must avail details of the waste that is to be transported such as the volume and the kind of waste matter. Similarly, the concerned party must avail the address of the waste’s destination and the address of the terminal from which the waste has been obtained. A disposal plan for the waste and insurance policy for the same must be availed (Macdonald, 2007, p.34).
Energy Efficiency Act
There exists an Energy Efficiency act in Canada. The policy was put in place by the government as a tool of controlling the manufacture of items that are powered by electricity. According to Piattoni (2009, p.164), the government identifies the items that are energy sufficient and recommends them to the public. Most of these items are electrical appliances such as iron boxes and refrigerators.
The items are evaluated to ensure that they are energy sufficient. The items that have been endorsed by the government have the EnerGuide mark on them. Cars are also included in this act. The act ensures that the listed items optimize energy such that there is minimal or no waste that is emitted into the environment.
Hazardous Product Act
The hazardous product act puts manufacturers and importers under obligation to employ standard safety labeling on their products. They are also supposed to inform the clients about the risks that are associated with the substance.
The companies that use these hazardous materials are required by law to establish a workplace hazardous material information system. The system should be updated to reflect on any new materials. By doing so, the employees will be aware and will adhere to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Pest Control Products Act, 2002 (PCPA)
The PCPA act does not allow anyone or any entity to trade in pest control products that have not been verified by the act. If a pest control product has not been rubber stumped by the act then it is a threat to human health. This is to say that pesticides are not declined without proper analysis on their potential danger and if the ministry of health has not approved them, their use is expressed as violation of the act.
This is because the substance could meet the wrong target such as children and unsuspecting adults. Oliveira (2009, p.A10) argues that anyone found breaching this law risks serving a prison term not exceeding three years or pay a monetary fine of one million dollars.
The waters of Canada are protected by the Fisheries act that regulates fishing activities. Moreover, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans implement the policy. Regulating fishing activities ensure the fishes and their species are not endangered.
Additionally, any activities that are likely to interfere with the fish habitat cannot commence without proper documentation. The law forbids certain companies from emptying their untreated wastewater into the water bodies. This is because they process substances that can irritate the fish ecosystem.
Environmental Policy in India
India has the highest number of population in the world and this in itself presents an environmental crisis. National environmental policies were established to ensure that the natural resources of this country are protected.
The National Forest Policy was established in 1988 to guarantee the protection of forests that were at the risk of being cleared for creating room for human settlements. Other policies include the water policy act, national population act and national agriculture policy. The National Environmental policy states that the role of protecting the environment is a collective task and thus everyone should play his/her part as required by law.
The NEP has adopted several measures as a way of fighting for the protection of environment. Any party that causes any damage to the environment is supposed to compensate for the damage. The damage can be destruction of natural habitats such as forests, water bodies, wild animals and unsustainable agriculture (McKay, 2001, p.63).
The NEP requires investors to consult government environmental agencies for being approved before they embark on their projects. The law explains the specific categories of projects that need to be vetted before commencement.
The Forest Conservation Act 1988
This act states that the forest cover is to be protected. Investors are advised to counter check the location of their projects to ensure that they do not encroach on forests. The forests are reserved for forest-based activities. If a project site extends into the forest then the vegetation can be cleared after obtaining authority from forestry agency.
The area in question is assessed and if there is no alternative the government evaluates the gains that can be obtained from the proposed project and weighs them against what stands to be lost.
Consequently, the investor has to compensate for the resources that will be wasted once the project begins. However, the project cannot be allowed to proceed when the affected area is a source of habitat for communities or if the project is adjacent to social amenities such as schools and hospitals.
Air Act 1981
The air pollution and control act advocates for high quality of air. The act prohibits emission of toxic gases into the atmosphere. The act defines the preventive measures that are to be observed by organizations and other entities before they are allowed to proceed with their economic activities.
In addition, not all stakeholders can exceed the set limit of emission. Martens (2008, p.638) states that the organizations are expected to report accidental emissions to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).The act gives the officials of SPCB the authority to enter any business premise with the intention of finding out whether the owner observes the requirements provided in the act.
The SPCB officials can take samples from an organization that is under scrutiny to ensure there is solid evidence for breach of environmental law. However, the inspectors are supposed to avail a warrant of inspection in advance so that their activity is not viewed as a trespass to private property. The organizations that are likely to emit gases in air operate under a permit that is subject to renewal at the end of the year.
Hazardous Waste Management
There are rules and regulations that govern the use and handling of hazardous waste in India. Any party that is in possession of such waste should notify the government agencies. The hazardous waste should be refined to reduce its toxicity before it is disposed. The entity that handles hazardous waste should continuously develop strategies of reducing the toxicity of such waste.
There are procedures that are supposed to be followed regarding the collection, transportation, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. Failure to comply with the laid down procedures can lead to cancellation of operating permit.
The SPCB maintains a list of organizations that handle hazardous waste. Any incidents involving hazardous wastes should be reported to the SPCB. The law on hazardous waste requires handlers to label and package it appropriately to minimize the risks of exposure.
Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical
The national environmental policy of India regulates the production, storage and importation of hazardous chemicals. The parties that are involved with these hazardous chemicals are expected to document the risks that are associated with the chemicals and draft the safety precaution supposed to be observed when handling the hazardous chemicals.
Macdonald (2007, p.33) explains that the possessor of hazardous chemicals has the mandate of sensitizing the people that are prone to the risks associated with the substance. The people here can be employees in an organization or the contracted transporters.
All incidents involving hazardous chemicals are to be reported to the relevant government agencies. The items that are composed of the hazardous chemical should bear the precaution literature. The law forbids alterations of hazardous chemicals before a safety report is presented to the authorities.
Importers of hazardous chemicals are expected to maintain a record of all the transactions involved in the purchase of such materials and present them to the authorities. Moreover, the emergency action plan is supposed to be put to the test after every six months by carrying out a mock drill. This is important because it helps to identify the areas that need to be improved for the action plan to be effective.
Public Liability Act 1991
Under this act, any party that is involved in managing hazardous waste must purchase an insurance premium to cater for the damages that will be experienced. The damages can be fatal such that they can lead to loss of lives or jeopardize the health situation of the victims. In such cases, the owner of the materials is expected to bear all the cost and compensate the victims involved in the accident (Selin and Noelle, 2008, p.77).
Certainly, UK and Canada have the most effective environmental policies. India has the potential of achieving the results obtained by the other countries but the main challenges revolve around implementation of the policy. This is because poverty is the major driver of environmental depreciation, and thus a balance has to be achieved when managing the two issues.
The UK and Canada has the most effective environmental policies. However, this does not mean that India is incompetent with regard to environmental management. Britain and Canada collaborate with manufacturers in the implementation of the policies because they are the most common sources of pollution.
India has addressed the same problems raised by the other two countries, but the argument is presented from a different perspective. The government is portrayed as the consumer watchdog in the policies because it has the mandate of verifying the products that do not pose any health risk to the consumers.
Just like new trends come up in business world, the policies are also not permanent as evidenced by the successive amendments that have been carried out. This implies that the policies are subject to change as time moves.
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