The Principles of Environmental Management
According to Environmental Pollution (2017) and NEC (2011) there are some guiding principles of environmental management, these principles are helpful in environmental decision making.
1. Polluter Pays Principle (PPP)
For the last two decades, many economists have suggested that firms discharging polluting effluents to the environment should somehow be made to pay a price for such discharges related to the amount of environmental damage caused.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has suggested the Polluter Pays principles (PPP) as a general basis for the environmental policy. It states that if measures are adopted to reduce pollution, the costs should be borne by the polluters.
According to the OECD Council, “The principle to be used for allocating costs of pollution prevention and control measures to encourage rational use of scarce environmental resources and to avoid distortions in international trade and investment is the so-called Polluter Pays Principle.”
The essential concern of this principle is that polluters should bear the costs of abatement without subsidy.
The Polluter Pays Principle, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of India, means that the absolute liability for harm to the environment extends not only to compensate the victims of pollution but also the cost of restoring the environmental degradation. Thus, it includes environmental costs as well as direct costs to people or property.
Remediation of the damaged environment is part of the process of sustainable development and as such the polluter is liable to pay the cost to the individual sufferers as well as the costs of reversing the damaged ecology.
The application of this principle depends upon the interpretations, particular cases and situations. This principle has brought more controversial discussions during the Rio Earth Summit 1992.
The South has demanded more financial assistance from the North in combating the environmental degradation in the South. There are practical implications on the allocation of economic obligations in relation to environmentally damaging activities, particularly in relation to liability and the use of economic instruments.
2. The User Pays Principle (UPP)
It is considered as a part of the PPP. The principle states that all resource users should pay for the full long-run marginal cost of the use of a resource and related services, including any associated treatment costs. It is applied when resources are being used and consumed.
3. The Precautionary Principle (PP)
The main objective of the precautionary principle is to ensure that a substance or activity posing a threat to the environment is prevented from adversely affecting the environment, even if there is no conclusive scientific proof of linking that particular substance or activity to environmental damage. The words ‘substance’ and ‘activity’ are the result of human intervention.
The Rio Declaration in its Principle 15 emphasizes on this principle, wherein it is provided that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage. Lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
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Therefore, the principle is essential for the protection of environment and human health by implementing in the field of production and distribution of energy resources.
4. Principle of Effectiveness and Efficiency
It is essential that efficiency of resources use may also be accomplished by the use of policy instruments that create incentive to minimize wasteful use. It also applies to various issues of environmental governance by streaming processes and procedures in order to minimize environmental costs.
5. The Principle of Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all persons, corporations and states to maintain the ecological processes. Further, access to environmental resources carries attendant responsibilities to use them in an ecological sustainable economically efficient and socially fair manner.
6. The Principle of Participation
It is the duty of all the persons to participate in collectively environmental decision making activities. Some participation areas are related to the use of trees and other plants, minerals, soils, fish and wildlife for purposes such as materials and food as well as for consumptive and non-consumptive recreation.
The second issue concerns solid waste i.e. garbage, construction and demolition materials and chemically hazardous waste etc. The third issue of participation is related to pollution generating activities.
7. The Principle of Proportionality
The principle of proportionality is based on the concept of balance. A balance is to maintain between the economic development on the one hand and environmental protection on the other hand.
It cannot be disputed that no development is possible without some adverse effects on ecology. Therefore, it is essential to adjust the interest of the people as well as the necessity to maintain the environment. Moreover, comparative hardships have to be balanced and benefits to a larger section of the people have to be maintained.
In summary, environmental management tries to create a balance in the ecosystem and ecosystem equilibrium and its relationship with the socio-economic needs of the society, so it is socio-economic developments on one hand and the maintenance of the environment on the other hand.
It is also involved with the description and monitoring of environmental changes with attempts to maximize human benefit and to minimize the degradation of the environment by human activities.
Environmental management involves all people to some extent because all human activities ultimately have some sort of environmental impact.
However, some individuals are more directly involved with resource use, and some special interest groups are particularly concerned with resource exploitation and with issues related to pollution.
Environmental management therefore involves many stakeholders and requires a multidisciplinary perspective.
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