Central And State Boards For Prevention And Control Of Air Pollution

Powers And Functions Of Central And State Boards For Prevention And Control Of Air Pollution

After the “United Nations Conference on the Human Environment”, also known as Stockholm Conference, Indian Government felt the need for protection and prevention of environment and various legislations and enactments had been passed by the Indian Government in this direction. One such act is the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The ultimate objective of the act is to prevent, control and abatement of air pollution. The act establishes boards and certain powers and functions are conferred to the boards related to the control and prevention of air pollution.

Two boards i.e. Central Board and State Board are constituted under Section 2(f) the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The Act also gave the boards various powers and functions to perform. In this article, we would be discussing about those functions and powers of the Central and State Board.

Central Board – Central Pollution Control Board 

Section 3 of the Act provides that the Central Pollution Control Board constituted under Section 3 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 should also act as Central Pollution Control Board under this act and shall exercise and perform all the powers and functions of the Central Board under this act.

Constitution of Central Board

Section 3 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 provides for the constitution of Central Pollution Control Board.

The Central Pollution Control Board constitutes following members:-

  1. A chairman appointed by the central government, having knowledge or practical experience in dealing with cases relating to environmental protection.
  2. Maximum 5 officials to represent the central government.
  3. Maximum 5 members nominated by the central government from the members of the State Board.
  4. Maximum 3 members nominated by the central government to represent the interests of agriculture, fisheries, trade or any other interest which government want to be represented.
  5. 2 persons to represent the central government owned companies, corporations.
  6. A full-time member secretary having complete knowledge, experience and qualification of scientific management and controlling pollution.
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Section 6 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 entitles the Central Board to act as State Board in Union Territories. No separate State Boards can be constituted for union territories but on specification by the Central Government, the Central Board can delegate its powers and functions to any person of body of the Union Territory.

Functions of Central Board

The Central Board had to perform some functions under Section 16 of the Act. The functions under Section 16 are as follows-

  • Advising the Central Government on matters related to the prevention, abatement and control of air pollution in the country.
  • Planning and executing a nationwide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
  • Coordinating the activities of the States and resolving the disputes between them.
  • Providing technical assistance to the Boards, carrying out investigations and research related to air pollution.
  • Planning and implementing training programmes for the persons engaged or engaging in future in programmes for the prevention, abatement and control of air pollution.
  • Organizing a comprehensive programme on air pollution through mass media.
  • Collecting, compiling and publishing statistical data related to air pollution and preparing manuals, codes or guides for combating air pollution.
  • Laying down the standards for air quality and performing other functions as prescribed in the act.

State Board – State Pollution Control Board 

Section 4 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 entitles the State Pollution Control Boards constituted under Section 4 the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) act, 1974 to exercise and perform the functions and powers of the State board under the act. As the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) act, 1974 does not applies to all states. Therefore, Section 4 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) act, 1981 applies only to those states where the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) act, 1974 is in force.

For rest of the Indian States, State boards are constituted under Section 5 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) act, 1981. State Government have the power to constitute a State Pollution Control Board by notification in the official gazette. State Boards constitutes of:-

  • 1 Chairman nominated by the State Government, having knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to environmental protection. The Chairman on the State Government’s discretion, can work either whole-time or part-time.
  • Maximum 5 members nominated by the State Government to represent the Government.
  • Maximum 5 members nominated by the State Government from the members of the local authorities functioning within the State.
  • Maximum 3 non-officials nominated by the State Government to represent the interest of agriculture, fishery or industry or trade or labour or any other interest the Government want to be represented.
  • 2 persons nominated by the State Government to represent State Government owned, controlled or managed companies or corporations.
  • 1 full-time member-secretary nominated by the State Government, having qualification, knowledge and experience of scientific, engineering or management aspects of pollution control.
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Functions of State Board

The State Boards has to perform certain functions as laid down in Section 17 of the Act. The functions are as follows:-

  • Planning and executing a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
  • Advising the State Government on matters related to prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
  • Collecting and disseminating information related to air pollution.
  • Collaborating with the Central Board in organising the training of persons engaged or engaging in future in programmes related to prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and organising mass-education programme.
  • Inspecting any control equipment, industrial plant or manufacturing process and giving directions to persons to take necessary steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
  • Inspecting air pollution control areas, assessing the quality of air and taking steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution in such areas.
  • Laying down the standards the air quality, standards for emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere from industrial plants and automobiles or for the discharge of any air pollutant into the atmosphere from any other source except a ship or an aircraft, after consulting the Central Board. The State Board can lay down different standards for emission for different industrial plants with regard to the quantity and composition of emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere.
  • Advising the State Government about the location and premises of any industry which can cause air pollution.
  • Laboratory or laboratories can be established or recognised by the State Board to perform its functions efficiently.
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Powers 

  1. The State Board has the power to declare any area in the State as Air Pollution Control Area after consultation with the State Government. State Board can also alter or merge any Air pollution control areas by extension or reduction.
  2. State Board can also prohibit use of any fuel and burning of any material causing air pollution in any Air Pollution Control Area.
  3. Section 22 of the Act gives Board the power to make an application to court not inferior than a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class for restraining any person or industry or plant emitting excess air pollutants than the standards laid down by the Board.
  4. Section 24 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 empowers the State Board or any officer of the board to enter any place for examining and testing any control equipment, industrial plant, record, register, document and for conducting a search of any place where offence under this act has been committed or offence can be committed. Board can also seize any such control equipment, industrial plant, record, register, document or other material object if there is any evidence of the commission of an offence punishable under this Act.
  5. Section 25 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution ) Act, 1981 empowers the state board or any officer of the board to call and collect any information including information regarding the types and level of air pollutants emitted into the atmosphere from any industry or any control equipment or industrial plant from the person operating and State Board or the Officer of the State Board can also inspect the premises of industry, control equipment or industrial plant for verifying the correctness of information provided by the person.
  6. Section 28 empowers State Board or officer of the board to take samples of air emission from any chimney, flue or duct or any other outlet of an industry, equipment for analyzing the quality and standard of emission.

Author: Vikramjit Singh,
Panjab University SSG Regional Centre, Hoshiarpur

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