History of Environmental Responsibility and Protection

Environment plays a pivotal role in human life as well as in the development of society.  Any natural or artificial disturbance of environment is called environmental effect, the disturbance may be physical, chemical or biological preventive measures should be taken for protecting our environment from pollution. The presence of offensive, but not necessarily infectious, matter in the environment. For example, pollution may be by specific organic or inorganic chemicals, by physical agents such as dust, volcanic fallout, smoke, automobile fumes, radioactive material and animal feces and urine. Each of these items and noise pollution is dealt with under specific headings.



          Society can survive only in clear, pure and safe environment. Population explosion is one of the significant causes of environmental degradation. If a country is over population, its resources are exploited. There will be scarcity of food, pure drinking water, electricity, housing and other civic amenities. All these problems affect the environment either directly or indirectly. Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life in an environment of quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being; and Man bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generation.


          The Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads and other ancient scriptures of the Hindu religion have given a detailed description of trees, plants, wildlife and their importance to people. Yajnavalkya Smriti prohibited the cutting of trees by prescribing punishment for such acts. Kautalya’s Arthashastra, written in the Mauryan period, realised the necessity of forest administration and Ashoka’s 5th Pillar Edict expressed his view about the welfare of creatures in the State. Evidence from civilizations of Mohenjadaro and Harappa has further proved that the small population lived in consonance with the ecosystem and their needs maintained harmony with the environment. Thus, the Hindu society was conscious of the adverse environmental effects caused by deforestation and extinction of animal species. There is close harmony between man and nature. However, during the medieval period, the only contribution of Mughal emperors has been the establishment of magnificent gardens, fruit orchards and green parks, which were used as holiday resorts, palaces of retreat or temporary headquarters during the summer season. The common opinion of environmentalists has been that the Mughal emperors though were great lovers of nature and took delight in spending their spare time in the lap of natural environment, made no attempts on forest conservation. The British conquest in India brought about a plunder of natural resources coupled with a complete indifference towards environmental protection. A general survey of early environmental legislation reveals that apart from the forest laws, nineteenth century legislation also partially regulated two other aspects of Indian environment water pollution and wildlife.

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