December 2nd every year is observed as National Pollution Control Day. This day is embarked on in honor of the memory of the deceased, who lost their lives in the tragic Bhopal Gas Tragedy in the year 1984. The people who have been a part of this misfortune and have lived through it know-how in a fraction of time life changes.

On this very day in the year 1984, in Bhopal, an accidental leak of the toxic chemical gas Methyl Isocyanate and some other toxic gases took place in the Union Carbide Chemical Plant and exposed over 500,000 people in the city that night without any protection. Out of these, almost more than 2000 people including children died as soon as they were exposed. Data suggest that overall of 25,000 people died from exposure to these toxic chemicals, recording this day as a black day in the book of history in the name of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, a mammoth disaster caused due to industrial pollution.

The statistics provide us with a figure of 7 million death per annum in our country which is due to pollution and 9 out of 10 people do not have access to safe air, as per the National Health Portal of India.

With National Pollution Day the government intends to spread awareness about the various laws that have been made by the government and the National Pollution Control Board aka NPCB to tackle this grave problem of pollution. NPCB is an organization that has been established to checks whether the industries are following the protocols and guidelines that have been suggested by the government to control pollution. They are pollution police, if we may say.

The various laws and rules wherein the guidelines are specified and are also updated from time to time by the government to control and prevent pollution in India are as follows:

  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act of 1977
  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981
  • Environment (Protection) Act of 1986
  • Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986
  • Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules of 1989
  • Manufacture, Storage, Import, Export & Storage of Hazardous Micro- Organisms Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules of 1989
  • Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules of 1996
  • Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules of 1998
  • Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules of 1999
  • Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation) Rules of 2000
  • Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules of 2000
  • Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules of 2000
  • Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules of 2001
  • Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006
  • The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
  • Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
  • Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016
  • Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016
  • Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
  • E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016

This year’s theme of the National Pollution Control Day 2020 is focused upon spreading awareness towards the reason for pollution and also towards steps that can be taken to control or minimalize pollution in the environment. In this fast-growing age of pollution, it is of vital importance that the people are concerned, aware, and put in efforts so that we can live in a better environment and can provide a better inheritance to our future.

We here bring to you small steps that you can initiate towards controlling pollution:

  • Have a proper waste management system, avoid burning trash, especially plastic.
  • Share rides, make maximum use of public transportation, use more bicycles, or walk as much as possible.
  • Use products that are environmentally friendly whenever possible.
  • Do not throw out hazardous wastes in drains or in open.
  • Save electricity use solar energy as much as possible and buy appliances that are safe for the environment.
  • Follow the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.