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Environmental Justice

by Renuka Raut | 11-02-2024 20:34 recommendations 0

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no population bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or from the execution of federal, state and local laws; regulations; and policies. meaningful involvement requires effective access to decision makers for all and the ability in all communities to make informed decisions and take positive actions to produce environmental justice for themselves.


environmental justice seeks to expand the scope of human rights law which had previously failed to treat the relationship between the environment and human rights. most human rights treaties do not have explicitly environmental provisions. attempts to integrate environmental protection with human rights law include the codification of the human right to a healthy environment. integrating environmental protections into human rights law remains problematic, especially in the case of climate justice.

steps to acceleration of environmental:

1. Global acceleration of environmental rule of law: the governments should respect, protect and fulfil the right to a clean and healthy environment, which is key for sustainable development.

2. strong national legal frameworks: to help spur equitable and sustainable management of natural resources. These legal frameworks need to incorporate vulnerable, excluded and marginalized communities to access justice, information and participate in decision making

3. Transformation in the way we think :
About the rights of future generations and the rights to a healthy environment. It needs to incorporate wide cross-sections of society in the design of environmental policies and decisions 

Environmental justice in Other country

1. India: 
The development of environmental jurisprudence in postmodern public law. It accommodates ideas currently vooicedby experts around the world for protecting the environment, in forms modified by the legal of India. Understanding what constitutes an environmental justice issue in India will first need an understanding of the prevailing social disparities and environmental related problems that India is facing today. The justice interest of the urban poor, of marginalized and oppressed communities, of non-human beings and environments, must feature centrally in consideration of the overall evenness or unevenness of sustainable development in India.

Environmental justice requires a careful and well-designed institutional architecture, well-trained and impartial people serving as environmental administrators, and well-functioning rules and other regulatory frameworks that enhance meaningful ecological sustainability. It has been pointed out that institutions for the environment must be multi-level, dynamic and adaptable this certainly applies to environments and institutions in India. Distributed creativity, systemic stability, and evolutionary capability augmentation with everything informed by ethics, constitutionalism, and a convivial functional efficiency are likely to be the key functional principles for the new institutional architecture of environmental justice.

Environmental justice issues : 
Environmental issues are seen in areas slowly destroying the environmental and natural habitat, degrading the natural balance of the ecosystems like forests, water bodies, etc. This has often led to public outrage in many forms, such as direct violence, slow violence and ecological violence.

As per the EJAtlasdatabase (2018), more than 85% of the legal cases related to the environment in the country are either high-intensity cases that include widespread mass mobilization and violence or medium-intensity cases that have visible mobilization like street protests, rallies etc. The low and latent intensity cases are still brewing and have no visible organization, and are comparatively fewer in number. 

Many communities and groups of social scientists and even technical professionals have been advocating for the rights of healthy living for the underprivileged communities of the population, such as forest dwellers and tribal communities. India's image as a progressive jurisdiction in environmental matters through its proactive judiciary is now being internationally recognized. The National Green Tribunal of India, or the NGT, plays a vital role as a specialized body equipped with the expertise to handle environmental disputes in this regard. it has remarkably handled cases involving multi-disciplinary issues, provide  justice to the aggrieved, and offered greater plurality to environmental justice movements in the country. 

Today, many parts of the country face water scarcity and abrupt weather patterns. We have learned to live in what is considered one of the most polluted conditions anywhere. Therefore, a system that protects the rights of healthy living conditions is essential for India, and an audience due to these environmental issues.

2. South Korea: 
environmental justice in South Korea has a relatively short history compared to other countries in the west. As a result of rapid industrialization, people started to have awareness on pollution, and from the environmental justice appeared in late 1980s

Environmental Policies: 
Policies include an emissions-trading system for key sectors, a green building plan, an incentive system supporting electric and hybrid vehicles, and measures supporting environmentally friendly public transportation. There are no explicit taxes on carbon or electricity. As of 2019, korea was the worlds eight-largest emitter of CO2, and the share of energy production accounted for by renewables is the second lowest in the OECD. I t has committed to phasing out coal financing. In general, environmental measures tend to be ad hoc and fragmented.  

Development issues: 
Environmental injustice is still an on going problem. One example is the construction of Saemangeum Seawall. The construction of Saemangeum Seawall, which is the worlds longest dyke (33 kilometers) runs between Yellow sea and Saemangeum estuary, was part of a government project initiated in 1991. The project raised concerns on the destruction of ecosystem and taking away the local residential regions. it caught the attention of environmental justice activists because the main victims were low-income fishing population and their future generations. This is considered as an example of environmental injustice which was caused by the execution of exclusive development-centered policy.

construction of industrial complex was also criticized in the context of environmental justice. The conflict in Wincheon region is one example. The region became the center of controversy when the government decided to build industrial complex of dye houses, which were formerly located in Daegu metropolitan region. As a result of the construction, Nakdong River, which is one of the main rivers in South Korea, was contaminated and local residents suffered from environmental changes caused by the construction. 

3. United States (US):
EPA's goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work. EPA's environmental justice (EJ) mandate extends to all of the Agency's work, including: 
  • setting standards 
  • permitting facilities
  • awarding grants
  • issuing licenses
  • regulations
  • reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies  
EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The office of environmental justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) coordinates the Agency's efforts to protect environment and public health in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all programs, policies and activities.  

Integrating Environmental justice at EPA:
since OEJ was created, there have been significant efforts across EPA to integrate environmental justice into the Agency's day-to-day operations. Every regional and headquarter office has an environmental justice coordinator who serves as a focal point within that organizations. 

Importance of Environmental justice: 
Environmental justice is a public health and human rights issues. Marginalized communities are disproportionately at risk of exposure to lead, air pollution, hazardous waste and extreme heat. Ensuring that everyone lives in a healthy environment is important and helps to improve their overall health (Slelton & Miller, 2016). we should all work together help to improve the environments of those who live in areas that are affected by such issues. As the population continues to grow, challenges will arise when trying to address teh issues of environmental justice. The flight to provide clean air, safe drinking water, adequate transportation and safe living environments should be correlations between our health and the environment and the solutions that are available to us. 

Resources used: 
  1. wikipedia 
  2. Office of Legacy Management  (What is environmental justice )
  3. Enter Climate (Environmental justice issues in india by, shalin verma)
  4. SGI: Sustainable Governance indicators

  • https://www.gcu.edu/blog/nursing-health-care/environmental-justice (credit-information and picture)
  • https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/learn-about-environmental-justice#overview

Renuka Raut

  • India Youth Renuka Raut
  • recommend


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